Children and Families Bill
In February 2013 The Children and Families Bill was presented in the House of Commons and has had two readings to date. The element of most interest to Grandparents with contact issues is the Child Arrangement Orders.
The Children and Families Bill, includes reforms to adoption, family justice, provisions for children in care, the role of the Children’ Commissioner and an overhaul of Special Educational Needs and plans to introduce childminders agencies. Family justice clauses in the Bill seek to remove delays and ensure that the children’s best interests are at the heart of decision-making by:
• tackling court delays in care cases, ensuring they focus on the essentials rather than unnecessary evidence or bureaucratic delay;
• sending a clear message to separated parents that courts will take account of the principle 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 family mediation a requirement in many cases.
Child arrangements orders
(1) Section 8(1) of the Children Act 1989 is amended as follows.
(2) Omit the definitions of “contact order” and “residence order”.
(3) After “In this Act—” insert— “child arrangements order” means an order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following—
(a) with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact, and
(b) when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person;”.
(4) Schedule 2 (amendments relating to child arrangements orders) has effect.
The Children and Families Bill is an important step in the reform of the the family justice system and implements commitments made by the Government in response to the Family Justice Review.
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If you have a family matter and are unsure if you can obtain legal aid please contact one of our family team at our Bury office on: 0161 359 3880 or e mail Emma Cordock at firstname.lastname@example.org
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