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Margaret Hodge Proposes New Obstacles to Parent-Child Contact
- Family Groups to Intensify Civil Disobedience -

In a surprise announcement from top Hodge aide, Althea Efunshile, the DfeS has rejected the Pilot Project for family court reform while recommending new obstacles to divorced parents and children.

Under current laws, parents are often awarded little (if any) contact with their children after separation or divorce. Under new guidelines endorses by Hodge's select DfeS committee, parents will no longer be allowed to apply for increased time with their children - they may only apply for improved "quality of contact". There remain, of course, no guidelines on what "quality of contact" means.

In most western countries, reasonable contact has been long defined as alternate weekends, half the holidays, and one overnight per week. In Britain, where a definition of reasonable contact has never been written down, most contact cases drag on for years with no resolution in sight. More often than not, the system cuts off one parent (usually the father) from all contact with their children.

Irresolvable discussions about what sort of contact is "quality contact" will soon generate further misery for Britain's children. It's not surprising that such poorly-considered, child-hostile reforms have been generated by the offices of Margaret Hodge.

In response to Efunshile's announcement, many parents groups - such as Fathers 4 Justice - have vowed to intensify civil disobedience in coming days and weeks.

Those responsible for rejecting the widely supported Pilot Project are:

Brian Kirby (CAFCASS) tel: 020 7210 2265 or Brian.Kirby@CAFCASS.GOV.UK
Althea Efunshile (DfeS) tel: 020 7272 1396 or althea.EFUNSHILE@dfee.gov.uk
Bruce Clark (DfeS) tel: 020 7273 1288 or bruce.CLARK@dfes.gsi.gov.uk
Mavis Maclean (DCA) tel: 020 7210 8873 or mavis.maclean@dca.gsi.gov.uk
Joe Farrell (DfeS) tel: 020 7273 4825 or joe.FARRELL@dfee.gov.uk

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