Children and Families Act given royal assent

Children|Family|Family Law|News|March 14th 2014

The Children and Families Act has been given royal assent, completing its passage through parliament.

The legislation, which was originally published in February 2013, will now come into force later this year.

The Act makes a number of significant changes to children’s law in England and Wales. These include:

  • The right to say with foster families until the age of 21, rather than 18 as at present.
  • Improvements to the  standards of care offered by children’s homes.
  • Improvements to the communications of carer’s rights to support from their local councils.
  • Improved support for children whose parents are separating.
  • New help for children with disabilities and special needs.
  • Changes to the adoption system so that children in care can be placed more quickly.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said:

“The Children and Families Act is all about reforming services for vulnerable children – reflecting this government’s deep determination to give every child, whatever their start in life, an equal chance to make the best of themselves.”

He added:

“Our adoption reforms will help the 6,000 children who need loving homes to be adopted. Our reforms to special educational needs will see a system introduced which is designed around the needs of children and will support them up to the age of 25. For children coming into the care, the new 26-week time limit for care proceedings will reduce unnecessary delays. Virtual school heads will champion their education; children in residential care will live in safer, better quality homes and care leavers will have the option to stay with their foster families until they turn 21.”

The Act also includes changes to employment rights affecting children. These include:

  • The right, from April next year, to share parental leave after the birth of a child.
  • The right, from April next year, to adoption leave and pay similar to those available to biological parents.
  • A new right for all employees to request flexible working arrangements from 30 June this year, and a new requirement that employees consider such requests in a “reasonable” manner.

Jenny Willott, the Employment Relations Minister, said:

“Current workplace arrangements have not kept up with the times. The Children and Families Act will bring the way new parents balance their working and home lives into the 21st century.”

The founder of Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers. She retired from Stowe Family Law in 2017.

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  1. Paul says:

    A well balanced article. It demonstrates the emptiness of the government’s promise to legislate for non-resident parents, aka fathers, to remain significantly involved in raising their children after separation. These changes achieve precisely nothing to strengthen the position of fathers in private law disputes which account for by far the greater number of cases that end up in court.

  2. vob re says:

    6000 children will find loving homes.
    for how long?
    Divorce rate on the increase!
    Adoption failure rate now on the increase!
    When these children reach adult hood will ask who did these people think they were? Gambling with my life with a twenty six week timetable forcibly removing me permanently from my roots? especially knowing many of these professionals making these decisions have less than harmonious relations them selves. We will see the upshot when its too late as in the Australian scandal and the ones making these decisions will
    be invisible.

  3. Vicky says:

    Our granddaughter is in foster placement waiting to be adopted, she was in a mother and baby placement since she was born, so when she does get adopted that will be the third place and different people she has been passed to, doesnt that mix up babies and it will confuse her when she grows up to know she was passed from one place to another! instead of being put back with her family? Now who is playing with their minds and dont tell me it wont make a difference cause she is only 9 months old, she knows who we are and everytime we see her she so happy to see us, then she goes back to strangers! doesnt make sense does it??

  4. Debbie says:

    I was wondering when the new law of child arrangement order comes into force. Is is April 22nd?

  5. Amanda says:

    Can anyone share there thoughts on the children and families act 2014 and how this will affect childrens care services??

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