Children and Families Act, 2014
- Children and Family laws in the domestic setup have become an essential criterion for a child’s welfare and development.
- An act has been passed for UK, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. By keeping in mind the well-being and safety of children and preventing child abuse.
- Children and Families Act 2014 obtained royal assent and became a law on 13th March 2014. This Act is designed to uplift vulnerable children by giving them protection and attention with special care and needs. It also helps parents and families to generally deal with the personal issues and well-being 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 the 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 work.
- It promotes foster care and adoption. Adopters could foster children while they wait for the court’s approval for adoption.
- It reduces the delays in finding adopters as it already provides databases. They themselves could get registered without delay.
- The adopters receive the same rights as leave and pay as birth parents.
- The services are provided to the adopters in any financial aid by personal budget and allow 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 it does allow courts to extend by 8 weeks if necessary to resolve the case fairly.
Part 2 – Family Justice
- The court works about family justice, and thereby, major reforms have been made.
- The evidentiary value will be considered in family proceedings if it impacts the child’s welfare, and the case is resolved.
- After the separation of parents, they will participate in or be involved in the child’s life.
- 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.
- There must be a personal budget for aid and support of children and families that needs to certain and adequate.
- Health care services and authorities run the planning of services for families and children.
- Local authorities must involve in discussions and decisions about 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 the country. Schools are responsible for child care and support.
Part 5 – Child Welfare
- The importance of fostering, and having the right living environment, is ensured to the children.
- Children are put under a ‘staying put arrangements’ Young people are put under foster care for up to 21. Local authorities may reject this arrangement if they find that such an arrangement is not in young children’s interest. The council must advise, support, and provide assistance.
- New laws require virtual school heads to promote the educational achievement of looked after children.
- There should be an inspection of children’s residential homes and improving their security and safety.
- Councils to inform young people and parents to get the support they are entitled to.
- Free school lunches should be provided.
- There must be increased support for children with medical conditions.
- Smoking in cars has been banned, which is carrying passengers below 18 years of age.
Part 6 – Children’s Commissioner
The role increased from representing the children’s views and interests to promoting child rights and education. It includes children’s rights in the UK, and immigration in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Part 7,8,9 – Working Rights to Leave and Pay
- Parents or foster parents should achieve a balance of work and personal life to receive benefit payments. They can claim three different rights: statutory rights, time off, and flexible working hours.
- Mothers, fathers, and adopters can opt for shared 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 the child is placed.
- Parents could apply for flexible working hours.
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