The government is implementing key reforms to the child care proceedings system in England and Wales, following a review of the system completed in 2006. The reforms will improve the system and provide better outcomes for children while ensuring that resources are used in a timely and effective way.
Statutory guidance for local authorities
The Department for Children, Schools and Families will be publishing revised guidance for local authorities commencing care proceedings in early January 2008. The current version of the guidance is available from its website: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/conResults.cfm?consultationId=1495.
The Welsh Assembly will be publishing the guidance for Welsh local authorities in late January 2008. The guidance will come into force in April 2008.
Public law outline
The Public Law Outline will replace the existing Protocol for Judicial Case Management in Public Law Children Act Cases. The President of the Family Division expects to make the final version of the Public Law Outline and the accompanying Practice Direction available in late January 2008. The Public Law Outline will come into effect in April 2008. The current version of the Draft Public Law Outline, Children's Act Cases is available from the Judiciary its website: http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/publications_media/general/index.htm#family
More information can be found on the Ministry of Justice's website: http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/careproceedings.htm.