Draft bill’s contact clause is under fire

    Proposals to improve contact arrangements between children and
    parents would be implemented too long after a separation,
    Barnardo’s has warned.

    The children’s charity said the draft Children (Contact) and
    Adoption Bill should focus more on preventive work and managing the
    separation process rather than court sanctions.

    The bill would give judges the authority to direct parents in a
    contact case to parenting programmes and, where necessary, to
    enforce contact orders.

    Barnardo’s policy officer, Alan Coombe, said: “By the time adults
    are in court, people have become entrenched. What is needed is a
    systematic set of services that is available earlier in the

    In cases of suspected domestic violence, contact should be
    supervised while investigations take place, he added.

    Research by Women’s Aid last year found that 29 children had been
    killed in England and Wales as a result of contact arrangements
    since 1994.

    Examination of the draft bill by a joint parliamentary committee
    begins this week.

    • To submit evidence write to ccabill@parliament.uk

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