The changes brought about by the Children Act, which give the issues of partnership and contact a much higher significance than before, place new powers in the hands of the courts for orders to be made regarding contact with parents where children are in public care. Issues about partnership and contact between children and their families are, of course, closely linked to wider policies about rehabilitation and permanency. Partnership and contact work, in all its forms, occupies a significant position in the spectrum of activities which take place in social services departments and voluntary child care organizations working with looked-after children. Measured in terms of both the time it requires and the demands placed on professional staff, it is a complex and extensive component of what social workers do and how agencies discharge their responsibilities towards looked-after children.