Date lodged: 23 August 2016
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-01618 by Annabelle Ewing on 18 August 2016, whether it will respond to the specific issue raised in relation to children living with one parent, rather than looked-after children.
Answered by: Annabelle Ewing 6 September 2016
The relevant legislation makes it clear that the child must be at the centre of these cases. Section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, on court orders relating to parental responsibilities etc, provides that in considering whether or not to make an order and what order to make, the court shall regard the welfare of the child concerned as its paramount consideration. Section 11 also provides that the court shall not make any such order unless it considers that it would be better for the child that the order be made than that none should be made at all. Section 11 also makes provision on hearing the voice of the child in these cases. In relation to practicalities, the Relationships Scotland network provides contact centres. The Relationships Scotland website contains information on supported contact, where the contact centre is a venue, and supervised contact, where a trained member of staff observes and supervises the contact between the child and the non-resident parent to ensure the safety of those involved.