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What Lockdown 2.0 means for Children in Care or with Divorced or Separating Parents

View profile for Pamela Walsh
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As we now find ourselves in a second period of lockdown and heading towards Christmas just how does the lockdown affect children?

What we all can and can’t do is set out in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020, but there are of course exceptions for children to the general rules and regulations.

“As always during lockdown the welfare and mental health of both children and their parents is crucial and that is why the regulations are in place to ensure that stability can be put in place for children,” said child care solicitor, Pamela Walsh.

So what are the exceptions for children?

Exception 9 is that it is reasonable for parents to leave their home:

  • For access and contact between parents and a child if a child does not live in the same household as their parents or one of their parents.
  • For the purposes of contact between siblings where they do not live in the same household or if a child is looked after by a local authority.
  • To enable arrangements for prospective adopters (including their household) to meet a child or children who may be placed with them as provided for by an adoption placement plan.

Regulation 11 contains similar exceptions in respect of gatherings as it does for leaving home:

Contact where parents are separated

  • If an established contact arrangement is in place that can continue.
  • Parents can continue to do the school run and existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart remain.

Other relatives

  • If a child is living with a special guardian contact arrangements with parents can still continue.
  • The regulations don’t seem to specifically permit contact arrangements between children and other relatives to continue (unless they fall under the child care exceptions)
  • If a vulnerable child with medical risks is involved some parents may decide to reduce unnecessary travel and frequent movements in order to minimise transmission risks and here parental judgment comes into play. However, if there is disagreement the court may be asked to resolve the matter.

“The aim in all the regulations is to make life as normal for the children involved but if any parents, grandparents or relatives have any concerns they can always get in touch with us to help them through this difficult time,” added Pamela Walsh.

For advice on child care matters call Pamela Walsh or our child care solicitors on 0161 785 3500

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.