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Fewer care orders made under 26 week timetable

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Family Court Fees to Rise

March 28, 2024

The 26 week timetable for care proceedings introduced in 2014 has halved their average length, new research reveals.

The target timescale was included in the Children and Families Act in order to discourage excessive delay and uncertainty for children who have been take into the care system following neglect or abuse. Previously care proceedings typically took longer than six months on average.

According to initial research led by the Universities of Bristol and East Anglia, the result has been a fall in the overall number of care and placement (adoption) orders made but an increase in special guardianship and supervision orders – a rebalancing which suggests social workers and family courts now make a greater effort to explore alternatives to full adoption.

This is the first in-depth analysis of the effects of the 26 week timetable. The report is based on more than 300 care cases from 2014 and 2015.

Other findings include the use of fewer external experts and a greater reliance placed on work carried out by local social workers and the designated children’s guardian. In addition, the involvement of magistrates in care proceedings has dropped sharply, from 60 per cent of cases in the year to 2010 to just 20 per cent today.

A second stage in the study will focus on the subsequent welfare of the affected children following placement with an adoptive family, foster carers or guardian.

Read more here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. k says:

    “a rebalancing which suggests social workers and family courts now make a greater effort to explore alternatives to full adoption.”

    well this isnt happening at Sunderland LA. our 3 children were taken in Nov 2014 on the suspicion we had physically harmed them yet they never had a mark on them. they did all their checks etc and found nothing. we had no previous negative record during our 12.5 yrs as good parents yet they still went straight for court proceedings 5 weeks in and then an Adoption order. We know it was to take our 10 month old baby. this is the same LA that did not respond to the request by the Transparency project when they were asked if they still use targets for Adoption. They are very good at refusing to answer awkward questions. thats how they are so successful at removing children permanently. These type of LAs need to be investigated by the serious crime office.

  2. Belinda Langley says:

    The family court system is a joke. SS state they are not responsible for decisions made to remove children- They are in fact the puppet masters. The courts simply do their bidding. Parents lawyers don’t seem to be doing their jobs, preferring to ‘secretly’ side with SS and children are removed, when with a little extra work families could stay together.

    • keith says:

      you absolutely right on the bulls eye.
      even the judges are doing secret deals with social workers behind the backs of the parents. weather the parents solicitors are aware of it but keeping quiet i dont know but i would guess that they do know so they must be in on the whole thing aswell.

  3. Sam says:

    Bang on right on all comments. We’ve asked others to help,the judges know what they are decisions are before the parents try and challenge it. We’ve traveled the uk helping others. In wales (cardiff) 37 hearings,for children being heard in over a 2 day period. When it’s the first child,no history of anything (only that the mums side of the family a large amount of children are known to the local authorities) the baby was taken at birth dads side didn’t know about the pregnancy,and when told day before the birth he was asked not to attend the hospital..the LA then transferred baby to another hospital,(5 says she was on her own) and said she had gone to foster care 3 hours old. They had a agenda as they went to court 3 times before the dad was partied in 3 weeks before the silly 26 week time frame. The mum had criminal convictions,violence,drug abuse, why tarnish a innocent mans name when had none of them.. solicitor representative attended 2 hearings. At no time was advised properly,it would help if the appointed guardian knew where the child was? But I suppose you can’t ask everyone involved to think of the child,or the child’s best interests,clearly can see that no professionalism was shown or respect. New born babies at birth being tacked to feed adoption fares 3 siblings who were taken by the local authorities from wales to Leeds last weekend) we tried representing ourselves and wasn’t told it was a directions hearing.. order to try to revoke adoption order denied,tried again,denied,actually 8 times and was denied,appealing was denied but still stayed in cardiff. How can someone say a parent is trying to run 2 cases? No we were trying to stop the whole thing and didn’t have a clue until it was to late after they went after the sibling born 2016 by mum and another dad, she went for adoption,since 2014 on mums side actually 9 been adopted and backs are marked. How can a judge ask if the father intends on having anymore children.. certainly not so it can be taken away in the best interest of the child,even though wasn’t even given a chance to be a parent,we are not used to family proceedings but I can assure you there’s a lot of money involved. Weather it’s legal aid or paying! 3 hearings cost £5,000 that were still paying off as the local authorities twin tracked the child,and were paying for revoking the order? Courts saying they hadn’t received the fee, judge saying apparently was late, then solicitor hadn’t a clue. Who brings in a barrister 15 minutes before a hearing? We waited 5 months to meet this man who turned out to be a woman? And today the solicitor attended iur home didn’t speak about the case, to say he was retiring..after telling us about the adoption fare of these 3 poor children, having to paraid around for couples is absolutely horrific. But the reality is this is what’s happening. On adoption forums you read how the adopters are fuming as the child is upset and the LA wasn’t much help,but naming a few private organisations who buy siblings from the local authorities,then charges a phenomenal amount of money. Intros are really quick, as said on one site -meeting baby tomorrow DH don’t seem bothered, we read the horrific files from the lA , as we demanded them, with a few comments of abusive language may I add. Taking them to chams and them (children) disrespect me in my own home.. don’t they realise how lucky they are.. I might just throw in towel. When we were reading these comments I was horrified and sick and thought I can’t even show (dad) this and it was agreed we wouldn’t go looking again. It is money driven,there are some very powerful people involved and there not going to bit the hard that feeds them.

  4. Sam says:

    Can I just add the police have to answer to them,they have to much power,everyone has to dance to social services. Even if you try to stick up against the abuse. They use the child against the parents and family. When you report it it can’t be investigated because it is in the family arena!! When they get there stamps they expect broken families to clap hands let’s all rejoice and begins on another innocent family. There’s a larger demand for newborn babies or children up to the age of 3, I know if the child was 7/8/9 maybe families would stand a better chance. I can produce information where a number of us seen a adoption done and the adopted parents flew in on plain for intros with the baby and left with the baby 2 days later. Meaning only 12 weeks, and in another article wants birth and adopted ppl to get along. How do that work out? The local authorities dive in on young pregnant people mainly,the story told how teenage pregnancy has gone down is because they have flown the country,or the baby was taken from birth at the hospitals. A hospital in England admitted to working with social services,so let’s put the story right. Political people owning adoption agencies and a media ban then put on so it didn’t get aired about the real truth. These people have no reason to lie. I’m not saying either some children do need new loving homes,but to do it like they are is worrying and in fact a legal. No actual evidence/facts only there . It’s wrong and splitting siblings up , in years to come these poor children being put all over the country and from there heritage, aren’t going to know if related? Then you have a national disaster,(insestry) so whose looking after the children’s best interests.. as that is in front of them before adoption is stamped. What used to be the last resort,is the one and only and quickest and fastest option. Police will tell you future harm don’t exist,if nothing happened in the past/future and can’t predict the future? How the hell are they getting away with it.

    • dr. manhattan62 says:

      Very well said Sam,
      “How the hell are they getting away with it.”

      this is the troubling question on the minds of thousands of parents and campaigners all over the country.
      its nothing short of Organized Crimes on a mass scale yet nothing. not a single peep from the Govt about looking into it.
      The Grenfell tower disaster destroyed the lives of dozens of people and children which immediately sparked a full investigation.
      childrens services have done the same catastrophic damage to thousands of parents and children all over the country yet nothing, no investigation by the Govt just silence.
      the million dollar question is WHY.

      • Sam says:

        Greetings dr manhatten:
        Been very busy I think I stepped on a few toes recently. But that’s another story. Grenfell tower is similar to 9/11 and is criminal what happened,a public inquiry was promised but we all know a inquest will be done (look at the Stephen Lawrence case) they will cover it up. As you know yourself on research reform we’ve made many comments regarding this. It a multi million pound industry, and families don’t get justice in a family court. If you were in the magistrates you would get a fair trial (only because it’s a public gallery) local authorities in England and Wales removing children but submitting allegations against parents that’s not even true.. there’s thousands of parents crying out and the local authorities are not helping parents and perjury (MOJ1911) is being allowed in court(misleading and inaccurate information) everything there doing is illegal. Then you have the complaints from adopters and where there finding it hard to cope with the adopted children, so questions needs to be asked also why so many private adoption agencies involved? Also why are private agencies recruiting social workers on a 6 month temp basis (that’s a adoption time frame) it’s organised crime. You read the article about the protest at Edward TIMPSONS mansion only because he is the child minister and has adoption agencies,which we were given the evidence for. I never thought I’d be raising awareness at my age and my first grandchild would be taken in such a brutal way,to a first time dad. If they could give a little truth in reporting to the family courts it would be something to a try to make sense of,maybe a bit of daily truth syrum should be prescribed to them.on Monday I had a legal friend attend my home the man was devastated after learning 3 siblings were stamped last week for adoption but would be attending with the social worker a weekend adoption fare? That’s abuse in itself and child exploitation. Normally you look on the websites at children actually available. But to make kids go to a adoption day (a fate) with couples looking if interested or not.. but they left for Leeds from here last Friday. So again how many children attend these fairs these children were 3 and under (twins and 9 months old who was taken at 3 months old) I do know a few things but this is definitely organised crime and the police can’t do anything so it has been reported, but look at the 200 IICSA cases dropped recently? Then the inquiry that was supposed to happen march 2017 about forced adoption (why so many children being removed) was dropped in may one of the board members, one who lead a adoption agency for years (featherstone) . There’s only so much awareness we can raise I was reading stuff going bk to 2013/2010 were now in 2017 you know. People of higher class know this is happening, and sadly with children if they don’t fit then they are left in the system with no families,no parents nothing and get a life sentence when supposed to be adopted. Currently talking to care leavers at the moment who had adoption orders but never had the forever home and some suffering horrific abuse, I can’t say I can’t help you where else can they go? The parents went of the rails after the child was taken/ but suicides are partly due to forced adoption. That’s murder , but not in the eyes of the legally stolen children of the uk wales/England. Keep intouch dr manhatann, I enjoy yours too. I’ve found this blog interesting and I will give credit when it is due. Many don’t like my comments as I only speak the truth and a lot of the time fathers get the blame, which I stand up for is all human rights.

        • dr. manhattan62 says:

          Thank you for your kind comments Sam,
          you and i are all part of a sidelined community of parents who have had the children Unlawfully removed so we all speak the same language. you have my respect too.
          My partner and i lost 3 children over two yrs ago and have been fighting and swimming against the tide ever since with very little to show for it.
          its a damn hard slog dealing with this corrupt system but as long as we have a heartbeat we will keep fighting for justice.
          do you have a page on facebook ?

          • Sam says:

            Yes I do . It’s a slide we continue to carry on,with others joining in the thousands,fighting the parasites in the swamp. Getting there fixed of innocent family and children, power and money is a legal toxic cocktail as you are aware of. My details as follows . drop me a line and we can have a chat .regards sam
            warriors together-utube
            Raising awareness of social services and family courts-FB

        • Sam says:

          There’s to much money involved. When you have MPs having financial interests in private adoption agencies,eyebrows rises. A 3 day protest by parents and grandparents whose children/grandchildren were adopted were ignored by letters. A blanket ban was put on the media because of the up coming election also you might find it useful if you go on FOI forms and see how many have been refused by House of Lords,Commons and parliament too. What’s more important is what there asking the people.
          Adoption orders are being done before the 26 weeks time frame,and many of us continue to highlight forced adoption. It’s a money wheel that keeps going around, and 53 barristers have just been Debarred dwn after misconduct in family court. How many over the years have they done? (Cases) we will never know, parents don’t know the law, but you have to separate everything thing weve found,that way we can prove each bit. It would never stand in a criminal court. The secret family courts has been that for decades and it needs reforming,the doors needs to be opened. We asked a judge to Debar down and he refused but in this judgment he said something that’s impossible to have ever taken place. Yes I’m on Facebook and also twitter,also the awareness page, samantha richards. Will look forward dr manhatten to hearing from you
          (*Comment moderated for legal reasons)

          • Dr manhattan says:

            “MPs having financial interests in private adoption agencies”
            Now that is a very troubling statement if true.
            they do say the pen is mightier than the sword but of course its not the pen but the person wielding it.
            many millions of innocent people have suffered at the hands of those with power and authority for thousands of years simply because the masses were kept in the dark about what they were doing behind closed doors. those days are over.
            the rise of the internet is becoming the most powerful tool for shining light on criminal activity . they say knowledge is power and thats why the establishment fear the public becoming informed and waking up. even the mighty Julius Caesar was removed from power by numbers. its all about the numbers and it all leads back to Einsteins E= Mc2. people power will always win over any controlling body simply because of Numbers. the people have the ultimate power, they just need to learn how to harness it and all will be revealed.

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