As COVID-19 continues to tear its way through not only our nation but the entire world there are a number of people much closer to home who are victims of the current circumstances. Children. While at this time many of us would wish to have the innocence of youth on our side, there are many children for whom this period of time will be remembered solely as the time they didn’t see their Mum, Dad, Grandparents, Aunty, Uncle, other family members or friends.
While there is currently guidance from the UK Government that separated parents are allowed to travel between their home and their child or childrens’ home to collect a child, this does not cover every parent who exercises contact with a child. Some councils, for example, West Lothian have made it clear that they will not allow any face to face contact between parents and children under the care of the council (Looked After Children), regardless of any current order within a decision of a Children’s Hearing. Instead all contact has to take place electronically via text message, Whatsapp, Skype, Facetime or Zoom
While we understand that this positon may be challenged in the near future, at present many children are missing out on what is likely to be beneficial contact with parents and other family members. It may well be the case that a child’s friend, classmate, brother, sister or another child from within their current home may be allowed to exercise contact with their parent, but they are not – simply because they are deemed as Looked After. The position of West Lothian Council is currently unchallenged and we are not sure if it will stand throughout the period of this National Emergency.
However, if you wish advice on this or many other areas of Family Law call 0800 005 1755.