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This book is concerned with the regulation of family relationships,in particular the issue of openness and contact in the many different family situations in which it may arise. The shift towards a presumption of contact, and its articulation within diverse fields of family law and practice raises a whole series of questions which this book seeks to explore. For example: Why has the contact presumption emerged? What is meant by contact, and with whom. What is the value and purpose of it? What makes it work or not work? What is the role of law and other forms of external intervention in promoting, regulating or facilitating contact and to what extent should 'familial' relationships be subject to state regulation? More broadly, what can we infer about current conceptualisations of family, parenting (and the relative importance of social and biological parenthood) and childhood from policy and practice towards contact?
These and other questions were explored in a series of seminars organised by the Cambridge Socio-Legal Group in 2002. The book is the product of these seminars.