As the government mulls over a nationwide lockdown after the number of COVID-19 cases spiked this week, we thought it might be helpful to remind our readers of the principles underlying child contact during lockdowns.
The government has made it clear in guidance that the normal rules around child contact and contact applications always apply during lockdown and local authorities should do whatever they can to ensure face to face contact is enabled where it is agreed or set down in a court order.
This policy was also confirmed in the first case of its kind, which looked at children’s right to contact while COVID-19 restrictions were being enforced.
Six months on, we have a much clearer idea of what can be done to prevent the spread of the virus and councils are uniquely positioned to provide “COVID safe” spaces in contact centers and meeting venues, so there is no excuse for failing to facilitate that contact.
The “business as usual” policy implemented by local authorities during the first lockdown is likely to continue on into future lockdowns, and ensures that resources and facilities are or should be, open and available to birth parents and their children.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now warned the country that a second wave of the virus is on its way, which could see a nationwide lockdown reimposed if cases continue to multiply.
The following resources below are intended to give parents all they need to work with councils in securing and protecting the contact they have with their children.