Children and Families Act, 2014
- Children and Family laws in domestic setup has become a very important criteria for child’s welfare and development.
- An act has been passed for UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland. By keeping in mind the wellbeing and safety of children and to prevent child abuse .
- Children and Families Act 2014 obtained a royal assent and became a law on 13th March 2014. This Act is designed for the purpose of upliftment of the vulnerable children by giving them protection and attention with special care and need. It also helps parents and family to generally deal with personal issues and wellbeing of the children.
- This Act is divided into 9 parts and each dealing with one aspect of child support, development and family. It outlays major reforms to improve lives of children.
Part 1 – Adoption
- All the changes are from adoption placements and support. This Act introduces new rights for adoptive families to support and leave from work.
- It promotes foster care and adoption. Adopters could foster children while they wait for the courts approval for adoption.
- It reduces the delays in finding adopters as it already provides databases. They themselves could get registered without a delay.
- The adopters receive the same rights as leave and pay as birth parents.
- The services are provided to the adopters in the form of any financial aid by personal budget and allows them to choose any support.
- Care proceedings. – Act drives to eliminate delay in adoption extending to family courts. The Act outshines the 26 week limit on care proceedings. Although does allows courts to extend by 8 weeks if necessary to resolve the case fairly.
Part 2 – Family Justice
- The court works in relation to family justice and thereby major reforms have been made.
- Evidentiary value will be considered in family proceedings if it has an impact on child’s welfare and the case is resolved.
- After seperation of parents, they will take part or involve in child’s lives .
- It replaces contract and residential orders with a single order called child’s arrangements order.
Part 3 – Children and Young people with special educational needs and disabilities
- A new Education, Health and care plan will replace previous educational plans and support young children and their families from birth to 25 age.
- There must be a personal budget for aid and support of children and families that needs to certain and adequate.
- Planning of services of family and children is run by health care services and authorities.
- Local authorities must involve in discussion and decisions in relation to their care and education. It provides advice and support and also mediation services.
Part 4 – Childcare
Childminders with training and business to increase the provision and quality of childcare in country. Schools are responsible for child care and support.
Part 5 – Child Welfare
- Importance of fostering, having right living environment is ensured to the children.
- Children are put under a ‘staying put arrangements’ Young people are put under foster care upto the age of 21. Local authorities may reject this arrangement if they find that such arrangement is not in interest of young children. Council must advice, support and provide assistance.
- New laws require virtual school heads to promote educational achievement of looked after children.
- There should be inspection of children’s residential homes and improving their security and safety.
- Councils to inform young people and parents to get support they are entitled to.
- Free school lunches should be provided.
- There must be an increased support to children with medical conditions.
- Smoking in car has been banned which is carrying passengers below 18 years of age.
Part 6 – Children’s Commissioner
The role increased from representing the views and interests of the children to promotion of child rights and education. It includes children’s rights in UK, immigration in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too.
Part 7,8,9 – Working Rights to Leave and Pay
- A balance of work and personal life should be achieved by parents or foster parents in order to receive benefit payments. They can claim for three different rights. Statutory rights, time off and flexible working hours.
- Mothers, fathers and adopters can opt for sharing parental leave during childbirth or placements.
- They are to claim unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments.
- Adopters right to unpaid time off to attend meetings before child is placed.
- Parents could apply for flexible working hours.
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