The Queen has spoken: Children come first
The Queen’s 2012 Speech included reference to a consultation of legal options to strengthen the law to ensure that, “where it is safe and in the child’s best interests”, both parents are able to have a relationship with their child after the parents split up.
Sussex MP, Tim Loughton, is Minister for Children, and has told The Daily Telegraph (1st Feb 2012) that the consultation will start “shortly”. Parents will be encouraged to attend Mediation where possible, as Mr Loughton believes that “the Courts are rarely the best place for resolving private disputes about the care of children.” A £10 million funding programme for Mediation will be unveiled.
The consultation is part of the Children and Families Bill.
Additionally, the Bill looks at other areas where the rights of children must be promoted and protected.
It will endeavour to impose a six month time limit for family Courts in England and Wales, to reach final decisions as to whether children should be taken into care in Child Care proceedings.
In England, the Bill will stop local authorities delaying adoptions when there are suitable prospective adopters waiting. Placing the child swiftly will come first, and the ethnic background of the adopters will come second.
More choice and control will be given to families who need support for children with special needs. The SEN (Statementing process) for children will be overhauled and made simpler. It will provide statutory protection for young people below 25 years of age, rather than the current cut off of 16 years.
Keep on top of the changes which are relevant to you and your family by contacting Bennett Griffin’s Family team on 01903 229938 today.