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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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REVISED CHILDREN ACT 1989 GUIDANCE AND REGULATIONS VOLUME 1: COURT ORDERS
Date:28 JAN 2008

This guidance replaces the Children Act Guidance and Regulations 1991 and comes into effect from 1 April 2008.

Volume 1 is issued as guidance under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970, which requires local authorities, in exercising their social services functions, to act under the general guidance of the Secretary of State. The guidance should be complied with by local authorities when exercising these functions, unless local circumstances indicate exceptional reasons that justify a variation.

Volume 1 also provides a complete account of the range of court orders that are provided for by the Act, including those that are predominantly used in private law proceedings, where local authorities are less often involved. The guidance also describes the key principles underpinning the Act and the roles of the police and of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) in relation to the Act.

The guidance features a number of key changes that will have implications for local authorities:

  • the expectation, as a matter of routine, that core assessments (in accordance with the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and Their Families) will have been carried out prior to section 31 applications being made;
  • as part of this, careful consideration will have been given to the possibility of the placement of children with relatives and friends, whether as an alternative to proceedings or as a care placement;
  • the sending a Letter before Proceedings to parents (save where it is unsafe for the child to do so) as part of improving communications with families and with a view to deflecting proceedings and, linked to which, to enable the parents to gain access to pre-proceedings legal help; and
  • improved preparation of materials to support section 31 applications, in accordance with the pre-proceedings checklist.




THE CHILDREN ACT 1989 GUIDANCE AND REGULATIONS
VOLUME 1: COURT ORDERS