There have recently been changes to the guidance being provided by Government and the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) regarding Child Arrangement Orders during COVID.
Coronavirus: Separated Families and Contact with Children in Care FAQs
The briefing paper Number CBP 8901 dated 15 October 2020 and titled Coronavirus: Separated Families and Contact with Children in Care FAQs (UK) written by David Foster, Philip Loft provides guidance on how Child Arrangement Orders should be handled during the current Covid restrictions.
“This paper provides brief information in response to some key questions regarding the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on separated families, maintenance arrangements and access to children.
The paper is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any individual or family and suitably qualified legal advice should instead be sought.
Local restrictions should also be consulted. These can be found at the respective pages for England; Scotland; Wales and Northern Ireland.
The paper addresses:
• Can children move between the homes of separated parents?
• Rules regarding children required to self-isolate
• How should parents comply with a court-orders for contact?
• How are child maintenance payments impacted?
• Can I visit my child in care/residential home?
• My child contact centre is closed: What alternatives are being made?
• Where can I go for help and advice?
This is a fast-moving issue and the briefing should be read as correct at the time of publication.”Coronavirus: Separated Families and Contact with Children in Care FAQs (UK) written by David Foster, Philip Loft
Guidance on Compliance with Child Arrangement Orders
In addition, The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane in his Guidance, has addressed that under the rules at each alert level, there is an exception to the restrictions on meeting family and friends where the gathering is necessary for the purposes of arrangements – for access to and contact between parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents or one of their parents.
“The key message should be that, where Coronavirus restrictions cause the letter of a court order to be varied, the spirit of the order should nevertheless be delivered by making safe alternative arrangements for the child”.
Government guidance that were issued alongside the Stay at Home Rules dealt specifically with child contact arrangements. It says “where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents” homes.
Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS)
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) have published updated guidance on the support their Family Court Advisors (FCAs) can provide during the current Covid restrictions. Click here to read the CAFCASS guidance.