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DAD.info | Opinion | Latest News | Child Contact Centres

Child Contact Centres

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Do you use a contact centre to see your kids? It might not be the perfect option but so much better than losing contact completely.

Court hearings take time and children grow so quickly. 

With over three million children growing up in lone parent households we need to find ways of making sure children don’t lose their parents. The Centre for Social Justice estimates that about one million children in the UK are growing up without any meaningful contact with their fathers.  So if, for now, the only way is through a contact centre that isn’t such a bad option… and you certainly aren’t the only one.

Legal aid reforms trigger huge increase in parents seeking help from child contact centres.

The number of parents self-referring directly to child contact centres has drastically risen in the last ten years, according to new figures released by the National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC).

Self-referrals from separating parents have risen astronomically from 3.7% of total referrals in 2009/10 to 35.8% in 2018/19, in the same period, referrals from solicitors have reduced from 67.8% to 21.9%. [1]

The stats released today are a clear indication of the consequences of legal aid reforms for families experiencing separation. The consultation process for legal aid reforms started in 2011 and came into force in 2013. Since then, legal aid for family law has only been available for a limited range of cases including domestic violence and international child abduction.[2]

Elizabeth Coe, Chief Executive, National Association of Child Contact Centres said: “Parenting shouldn’t end when relationships do and we know many parents who separate feel the same way, which explains why the assistance from child contact centres is in such demand. We have noticed a huge change in source of referrals since legal aid reforms led to a reduction in provision for most family cases. Families who are going through a separation now often need to negotiate the family law system without the support of a legal professional.”

As well as providing safe spaces where children can meet the parents they don’t live with, NACCC centres support families by promoting the use of mediation and other services so that separating parents don’t need to go to court to arrange contact with their children.

If you are in the process of self representing or need some support or solidarity come and chat on our Dad.info forum.

 

 

[1] https://naccc.org.uk/what-we-do/annual-statistics

[2] https://www.thefamilylawco.co.uk/blog/2017/12/11/legal-aid-update/

 

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