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Government to fund supervised contact

Government to fund supervised contact

The government is to fund formal supervised contact sessions ordered by the Family Court, Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel announced today.

Formal supervised contact (currently known as supervised access) involves a trained professional overseeing contact between a child and a non-custodial parent.

"Supervised contact is used in cases where the Family Court is satisfied that violence has been used against either the child or the custodial parent, but the Court believes that some contact between the child and parent is in the child’s best interests," Lianne Dalziel said.

"The Court will usually first consider whether family or friends could supervise the contact before directing formal supervised contact.

"Current provisions in the Guardianship Act require non-custodial parents to pay the entire cost of supervised contact. However in practice many families are unable to pay the full costs, and the supervision providers have to charge partial or nominal fees to make up the shortfall.

"Government funding of supervised contact supports a child’s right to have contact with both parents and reduces the financial burden on non-custodial parents and service providers."

Lianne Dalziel said the government would fund a maximum of 14 supervised contact sessions per family (based on fortnightly visits for six months), which reflected both the estimated average duration of supervised contact and the need for families to make their own long-term arrangements where appropriate.

The funding arrangements will come into effect once new legislation replacing the Guardianship Act is in place and the arrangements will be kept under review.

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