Shared Parenting allowed in new Covid-19 framework

In her speech at the Scottish Parliament debate on the new Covid-19 Framework on Tuesday 27th October, Nicola Sturgeon said that changes had been made to restrictions affecting childcare, shared parenting and child contact centres following discussion with stakeholder organisations (including Shared Parenting Scotland).

The five-level framework for Scotland allows children to move between the homes of separated parents even at the most restrictive level 4.  This exception to general travel restrictions applies at every level because it is important for children to see both of their parents regularly.

The factsheet explaining the five-level strategy notes that “Exemptions for essential travel for work, education, shopping, health etc; outdoor exercise; weddings and funerals; shared parenting, and transit through restricted areas.”  apply at all five levels.  Child Contact centres are permitted to operate as normal with face-to-face contact at levels 0, 1 and 2.  At level 3, where the advice is “Essential only/online where possible” this means that intake meetings should be online but actual child contact can still be face-to-face.

At level 4, the most extreme restrictions which are only meant operate for limited periods, child contact centres will be limited to arranging online contact only.  Updated guidance for child contact centres will be published later this week.

As Fulton MacGregor MSP commented later in that debate: “I am happy to hear that there is clarity about travel when there are shared parenting arrangements. It is important that we avoid placing additional pressures on families that might harm children and young people as we move into winter.”