Children in care, prospective adopters and young carers can look forward to greater government support after the Children and Families Act today received royal assent. Under the Act, looked-after children will be able to stay with their foster families until they turn 21, while care proceedings will be subject to a controversial 26-week time limit – intended to reduce delays for children and adopters – and young carers will have the right to much clearer support from their local authorities. “The 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,” said children’s minister Edward Timpson.

Major changes in the Act:

  • children in care have choice to stay with their foster families until they turn 21

  • young carers’ and parent carers’ have clearer rights to support from councils

  • reforms to children’s residential care to make sure homes are safe and secure

  • expert evidence in family cases concerning children will be permitted only when necessary to resolve case justly

  • 26-week time limit for completing care and supervision proceedings, with possibility of extending to eight weeks in some cases

Meanwhile, there are reforms to children’s residential care designed to make homes safer and improve the quality of care vulnerable children receive.   The act will also introduce measures intended to help people better balance their work and home life. From next month, mothers, fathers and adopters can opt to share parental leave around their child’s birth or placement – with mothers and fathers being able to take up to a year, or several months at the same time.   The act will also make it illegal for people to smoke in cars when children are present. 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.

A number of act provisions will take effect in September. They are:

  • The introduction of education, health and care (EHC) plans to co-ordinate support for all children and young people aged up to 25, replacing statements of SEN

  • Personal budgets to help children and young people, and their parents, carry out their EHC plans

  • A new needs-assessment process, managed by local authorities, with statutory timescales to ensure quicker decisions are made on whether support will be provided and what form it is to take

  • Giving children and young people with SEN and their parents greater control over the decisions about the support they receive.

The SEN sector has welcomed the reforms as having the potential to improve access to good quality support for children and young people with SEN, but some charities fear cuts to local authority budgets will affect their delivery.

to children’s residential care designed to make homes safer and improve the quality of care vulnerable children receive. The act will also introduce measures intended to help people better balance their work and home life. From next month, mothers, fathers and adopters can opt to share parental leave around their child’s birth or placement – with mothers and fathers being able to take up to a year, or several months at the same time. The act will also make it illegal for people to smoke in cars when children are present. – See more at: http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1142731/children-families-act-receives-royal-assent?WT.rss_f=News&WT.rss_a=Children+and+Families+Act+receives+royal+assent#sthash.3pyTv8q2.FwtiaHyx.dpuf
Meanwhile, there are reforms to children’s residential care designed to make homes safer and improve the quality of care vulnerable children receive. The act will also introduce measures intended to help people better balance their work and home life. From next month, mothers, fathers and adopters can opt to share parental leave around their child’s birth or placement – with mothers and fathers being able to take up to a year, or several months at the same time. The act will also make it illegal for people to smoke in cars when children are present. – See more at: http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1142731/children-families-act-receives-royal-assent?WT.rss_f=News&WT.rss_a=Children+and+Families+Act+receives+royal+assent#sthash.3pyTv8q2.FwtiaHyx.dpuf
Meanwhile, there are reforms to children’s residential care designed to make homes safer and improve the quality of care vulnerable children receive. The act will also introduce measures intended to help people better balance their work and home life. From next month, mothers, fathers and adopters can opt to share parental leave around their child’s birth or placement – with mothers and fathers being able to take up to a year, or several months at the same time. The act will also make it illegal for people to smoke in cars when children are present. – See more at: http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1142731/children-families-act-receives-royal-assent?WT.rss_f=News&WT.rss_a=Children+and+Families+Act+receives+royal+assent#sthash.3pyTv8q2.FwtiaHyx.dpuf
Meanwhile, there are reforms to children’s residential care designed to make homes safer and improve the quality of care vulnerable children receive. The act will also introduce measures intended to help people better balance their work and home life. From next month, mothers, fathers and adopters can opt to share parental leave around their child’s birth or placement – with mothers and fathers being able to take up to a year, or several months at the same time. The act will also make it illegal for people to smoke in cars when children are present. – See more at: http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1142731/children-families-act-receives-royal-assent?WT.rss_f=News&WT.rss_a=Children+and+Families+Act+receives+royal+assent#sthash.3pyTv8q2.FwtiaHyx.dpuf

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