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The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995

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This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Parental contact etc. with children in care

53.—(1) Where a child is in the care of an authority, the authority shall (subject to the provisions of this Article) allow the child reasonable contact with—

(a)his parents;

(b)any guardian of his;

(c)where there was a residence order in force with respect to the child immediately before the care order was made, the person in whose favour the residence order was made; and

(d)where, immediately before the care order was made, a person had care of the child by virtue of an order made in the exercise of the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction with respect to children, that person.

(2) On an application made by the authority or the child, the court may make such order as it considers appropriate with respect to the contact which is to be allowed between the child and any named person.

(3) On an application made by—

(a)any person mentioned in sub-paragraphs (a) to (d) of paragraph (1); or

(b)any person who has obtained the leave of the court to make the application,

the court may make such order as it considers appropriate with respect to the contact which is to be allowed between the child and that person.

(4) On an application made by the authority or the child, the court may make an order authorising the authority to refuse to allow contact between the child and any person who is mentioned in sub-paragraphs (a) to (d) of paragraph (1) and named in the order.

(5) When making a care order with respect to a child, or in any family proceedings in connection with a child who is in the care of an authority, the court may make an order under this Article, even though no application for such an order has been made with respect to the child, if the court considers that the order should be made.

(6) An authority may refuse to allow the contact that would otherwise be required by virtue of paragraph (1) or an order under this Article if—

(a)the authority is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare; and

(b)the refusal—

(i)is decided upon as a matter of urgency; and

(ii)does not last for more than seven days.

(7) An order under this Article may impose such conditions as the court considers appropriate.

(8) The Department may by regulations make provision as to—

(a)the steps to be taken by an authority which has exercised its powers under paragraph (6);

(b)the circumstances in which, and conditions subject to which, the terms of any order under this Article may be departed from by agreement between the authority and the person in relation to whom the order is made;

(c)notification by an authority of any variation or suspension of arrangements made (otherwise than under an order under this Article) with a view to affording any person contact with a child to whom this Article applies.

(9) The court may vary or discharge any order made under this Article on the application of the authority, the child concerned or the person named in the order.

(10) An order under this Article may be made either at the same time as the care order itself or later.

(11) Before making a care order with respect to any child the court shall—

(a)consider the arrangements which the authority has made, or proposes to make, for affording any person contact with a child to whom this Article applies; and

(b)invite the parties to the proceedings to comment on those arrangements.

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