The Draft Bill
22. The draft Bill applies to England and Wales
23. Clause 1 of the draft Bill would insert
new sections into the Children Act 1989, which would allow the
courts to direct a person, who is party to family proceedings
relating to the making or altering of a contact order and where
the making of that order is opposed, to attend a contact activity.
A contact activity is defined as an information session, a programme,
class, counselling or guidance session or any other activity which
can assist a person to establish, maintain or improve contact
with a child. The clause provides that a contact activity must
be appropriate, with a suitable provider, situated within reasonable
travelling distance and should not interfere with work or study
or conflict with religious beliefs. The court could ask a CAFCASS
or Welsh family proceedings officer to monitor a person's compliance
and report back to the courts.
24. Clause 2 would amend the 1989 Act
to provide that a court can ask a CAFCASS or Welsh family proceedings
officer to facilitate compliance with a contact order, monitor
whether compliance has occurred and report to the court on compliance.
25. Clause 3 would amend the 1989 Act
to allow a court to make an enforcement order where it is satisfied
that a contact order has been breached without reasonable excuse.
An enforcement order could impose an unpaid work or curfew requirement.
In the case of a curfew requirement the Government are considering
whether to give the court the power to impose a "compliance
monitoring requirement", which could mean electronic tagging
to monitor compliance with the curfew. When making an enforcement
order, a court would have to take into account the welfare of
the child concerned. Before making an enforcement order, a court
would have to be satisfied that it was necessary to secure compliance
with the contact order; and that its likely effect was proportionate
to the seriousness of the breach of the contact order. A CAFCASS
or Welsh family proceedings officer could provide information
on such matters to the court and monitor compliance.
26. Clause 4 would amend the 1989 Act
to allow the court to require a parent who has caused financial
loss to another parent by breaching a contact order to pay compensation
not exceeding the amount of the loss. The court would be required
to take into account the welfare of the child concerned and the
financial circumstances of the person breaching the order.
27. Clause 5 makes transitional provisions.
28. Clause 6 of the draft Bill would allow
the Secretary of State to declare that special restrictions will
apply to a country in relation to bringing children into the United
Kingdom for adoption. The Secretary of State would have to have
reason to believe that, because of practices of a country in connection
with the adoption of children, it would be contrary to public
policy to bring children from that country into the United Kingdom.
The Secretary of State would be required to consult the National
Assembly for Wales before declaring a restriction.
29. Clause 7 requires that special restrictions
applicable to a restricted country would have to be set out in
regulations. The regulations would require the Secretary of State
not to take any steps which he or she might otherwise have taken
in connection with bringing a child into the United Kingdom, but
any such regulations would also have to make provision for adoptions
in exceptional circumstances to proceed.
30. Clause 8 would allow the Secretary
of State to impose extra steps to be taken in relation to a restricted
country in certain circumstances.
31. Clause 9 gives effect to minor and
consequential amendments to the Children Act 1989 and the Adoption
and Children Act 2002. Details of the amendments are set out in
Schedule 2 to the draft Bill.
32. Clause 10 makes provision about the
Secretary of State's powers to make regulations.
33. Clause 11 sets out the short
title, commencement and territorial extent of the Bill.