Contact centre reopening delayed

Parents who have been waiting months for their local contact centre to reopen may have to hold on a bit longer to see their children.  This unwelcome news comes as Scottish Government has unexpectedly put a stop on most contact centre activity until official guidance has been finalised.

Contact centres perform the vital role of ensuring children see one of their parents during a dispute or because contact is being supervised.  Court ordered reports often involve observation of contact in a centre and these are also being held up.

It is now expected that the review of COVID arrangements on 20th August should include a decision on indoor contact.  Some local centres are already arranging handovers and outdoor contact but the limited number of indoor sessions that had already restarted have now been put on hold.

Shared Parenting Scotland manager Ian Maxwell expressed concern on behalf of the many parents who had been expecting centres to reopen at the same time as Scottish schools.

“Given that the Government announced exemptions right at the start of lockdown to ensure that children could see both separated parents, we are amazed that contact centres are being held back in this way.  Children who are currently only seeing one of their parents in a contact centre also need to know that parent is well and still cares for them.”

“These official guidelines must be settled without any further delay.  We look forward to a speedy resumption of contact centre activity.  Where the normal building has not yet reopened we hope that substitute locations will become available.”