Barnardos drops supervised visits
A charity that provides supervised visits between parents in high conflict or high risk situations and their children has stopped providing the service in Marlborough.
Barnardos has been running the supervised sessions in some form in Marlborough for more than 10 years, but withdrew the service on Monday due to lack of funding.
The service allowed a child to spend time with a parent they did not live with, when the court was concerned about the child’s safety.
Supervised contact was most often ordered by the court, when a parent had been violent, either towards the other parent or the child.
The Ministry of Justice said it would ensure the service was carried on in the interim, until permanent arrangements were made.
Six families were using the service in Blenheim, the only town that had the service cut.
A Barnardos spokesperson yesterday called for funding support, saying they would continue the service if they had the money.
‘‘We have made the decision to close as the service is no longer financially viable for us to operate.’’
Family Court lawyer John Sandston said a new provider ‘‘shouldn’t make too much difference’’ because they would have the same training and qualifications.
‘‘As long as it’s the same regularity and same frequency as what Barnardos was doing,’’ he said. ‘‘What I’d be concerned about is if that temporary situation fell away and there was a gap in time . . . a gap would be concerning for children, particularly because they’re the most vulnerable ones in this situation.
‘‘The whole purpose of a supervised provider is that it’s someone independent, someone trained, to make sure that the contact is safe for the child, both emotionally and physically.’’
‘‘The law is that under the Care of Children Act, that the children’s best interests and welfare must be promoted. Therefore if a child or children have had a relationship with the respondent, it’s normally very important that that relationship is maintained, because there’s normally a level of attachment.’’