This bill becomes law on the 22nd April. It takes forward the coalition government’s commitment to improve services for vulnerable children and support strong families. It underpins wider reforms to ensure that all children and young people can succeed, no matter what their background. The bill will reform the system for adoption, looked after children, family justice an special educational needs. It will encourage growth in the childcare sector, introduce a new system of shared parental leave and ensure children in England have a strong advocate for their rights.
Relevant provision for Child Contact Centres.
Family Justice System
The government is reforming the family justice system to help deliver better outcomes for children and families who go to court after family separation or where children may be taken into care. The reform programme is tackling delays and ensuring that children’s best interests are at the heart of decision making. The Bill will implement commitments the government made in response to the family justice review by-:
-Introducing a time limit of 26 weeks when courts are considering whether a child should be taken into care ensuring that they focus on the essentials and don’t get caught up in unnecessary evidence or bureaucratic delay.
-sending a clear message to separated parents (that courts will start from the presumption that both should be involved in their children’s lives) where that is safe and consistent with the child”s welfare.
-Introducing new “child arrangement orders” which will focus parents on the child’s needs rather than their own ‘rights’ and making sure more families have the opportunity to try mediation before applying to the court. More detailed information can be found on the Familylawnews.co.uk.
Court orders will no longer be called Contact and Residence Orders but Child Arrangement Orders
More information relating to this can be found in the following links: