Anguish as lifeline neutral spaces for separated parents who cannot agree access rights suffer dramatic fall in referrals
Child contact centres, where children meet their separated parents who cannot agree access rights, are disappearing as legal aid cuts take effect. The National Association for Child Contact Centres (NACCC) says 40 centres have closed in the last 18 months across England and Wales – and the pace of closures is accelerating. It says that, because it can no longer obtain legal aid, the number of parents accessing the family courts to resolve their problems has halved. As a result they are not receiving advice from solicitors who are likely to refer them to the centres. Last year 9,000 children used a centre, compared with 15,000 in 2013.