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Alternative Families and Changing Perceptions of Parenthood

Date:1 MAR 2011

Simon Blain and Anna Worwood

Manches LLP

The Children Act 1989 (‘Children Act') does not contain a definition of the term ‘parent'. Therein lies much of the Act's flexibility; as concepts of parenthood have evolved since 1989 the Children Act has managed to keep up without the need for radical amendment. Section 1(3) of the Act (the welfare checklist) states that when the court is considering whether to make vary or discharge a s 8 order or a special guardianship order it is to have particular regard (amongst many other things) to ‘how capable each of his parents and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant is of meeting his needs'.

Section 10(4) provides that any ‘parent' can apply for any s 8 order as can a step-parent who has acquired parental responsibility and any person in whose favour a residence order is in force. A broader set of people who were not deemed to be ‘parents' when the Act was...

Read the full article here.