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Legislation to support families and children

New legislation announced in the Queen's Speech aims to improve family justice by reducing delays in the system and speeding up adoption processes.

The planned Children and Families Bill would deliver better support for families – legislating to break down barriers, bureaucracy and delays which stop vulnerable children getting the provision and help they need.

The Bill will also strengthen the powers of the Children’s Commissioner – to champion children’s rights and hold government to account for legislation and policy.

With regards to adoption, the Bill will stop local authorities delaying an adoption to find the perfect match if there are suitable adopters available. The ethnicity of a child and prospective adopters will come second, in most cases, to the speed of placing a child in a permanent home.

Other key family law measures contained in the bill include:

  • Creating a time limit of six months by which care cases must be completed.
  • Focussing the court on those issues which are essential to deciding whether to make a care order.
  • Requiring parents in dispute to consider mediation as a means of settling that dispute rather than litigation by making attendance at a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting a statutory prerequisite to starting court proceedings.
  • Freeing up judicial time by allowing legal advisers to process uncontested divorce applications.


Child needs foster family every 22 minutes
Care demand statistics for April 2012

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