Children and Families Act 2014
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The Children and Families Act 2014 made significant changes to the Children Act 1989. It introduced a number of reforms relating to care proceedings.
Measures introduced by the Act include:
- The 26-week limit for care proceedings. Care proceedings must now be completed within 26 weeks. The court can extend this in exceptional circumstances. The 26-week time limit aims to ensure that seeks to ensure that permanence is achieved as early as possible, in the best interests of the child.
- ‘Staying Put‘ arrangements. These arrangements enable the young person to continue living with their foster carers if this is what the young person and foster carer wants. The arrangements allow a young person to live with a foster carer until age 21.
- Foster for adoption. The Act promotes the use of fostering for adoption placements for looked after children who are unlikely to be able to return to live with their birth family. Children’s services must first try to place the child with kinship carers (unless that is not in their best interests).
- Education, health and care assessments and plans. The Act provides a framework for how these should be provided for children with special educational needs and disability.
- Residence and contact order were replaced with child arrangements orders. These orders specify where a child is to live, and who they are to spend time with.