Children and Social Work Bill published
Published: 20.05.16The Children and Social Work Bill, unveiled in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday 18 May, has now been published.
The Bill can be found by clicking here:
The Government's main proposals around adopted children are:
Decision-making on adoption and other placement options
- To expand the factors courts must consider when deciding whether to make a care order. When courts are considering whether to make a care order they must consider the ‘permanence provisions’ of the care plan prepared by a local authority. In the future local authorities and courts will have to consider additional information about the impact of any harm a child has suffered; their current and future needs (including any needs arising from exposure to that harm); and the way in which the proposed permanence plan for the child will meet those needs.
- To introduce a new duty on courts to have regard to a child’s relationship with prospective adopters, when considering appeals against placement orders or challenges to an adoption order. This clause requires courts and adoption agencies (in England), when coming to a decision about the adoption of a child, to always consider a child’s relationship with their prospective adopters when the child has already been placed with them.
Promoting educational achievement of adopted children
- The Government will place a duty on local authorities in relation to previously looked after children: This clause requires local authorities to make advice and information available to parents, designated teachers in maintained schools and academies - and any other person the authority considers appropriate - to promote the educational achievement of children who have left care under adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements orders. It also requires the local authority to appoint an officer to discharge this duty (a Virtual School Head).
- The Government will also require schools (including academies) to appoint a designated staff member for previously looked after children. These clauses require maintained schools and academies to designate a staff member for promoting the educational achievement of children who are subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order. They also ensure that the chosen staff member has the correct training and knowledge to carry this role out effectively.