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Keeping families together: the role of the court in child reunification

Date:28 MAY 2020

A new working party to carry out the first review of supervision orders since 1989

On May 11th the first meeting of a newly formed sub-group of the Public Law Working Group took place to review practice guidance regulations and the effectiveness of the law on supervision orders. Authorised by the President of the Family Division the working party will be led by Professor Judith Harwin Centre for Child and Family Justice Lancaster University and Mr. Justice Keehan. It is the first review of the legislation since its enactment in the Children Act 1989.

There is an urgency to undertaking this review. Two recent reports have propelled court ordered reunification to the forefront of policy-makers and practitioners’ attention. Harwin and colleagues (the contribution of supervision orders and special guardianship to children’s lives and family justice) found that nationally 20% of all children who returned to the care of their birth parents on a supervision order were back in court for new care proceedings within 5 years – a rate that was significantly higher than for any other legal order. The research also found...

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