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The Children Act 1989, States that it is the authorities duty to safeguard children and promote their welfare. This is to say that children from all backgrounds that are vulnerable to harm should be protected. Also their general way of life should be shielded from those who threaten to harm or impair it in anyway. To protect the children from such people or events, such as abduction, social workers (sometimes known as child protection officers) have been employed. Their primary goal is to focus on the safeguarding of children and for many years these workers have also provided additional support to families and family members that feel they are vulnerable. CAFCAS along with social work is another agency that is employed in the welfare of children dealing with courts to find solutions to families’ differences when parents separate. Their goal is to reunite parents with their children and also to provide the children with a better way of life. This is either by shielding them from an abusive parent or, by helping the single parent gain access to finances to help support the child.
Another feature of this legislation is to enable the courts to decide on what is best for the child, if that choice is more beneficial for the child in their current situation. This could in extreme cases involve the removal of the child from their parents and be placed into the care/foster care system; this is always the last resort. CAFCAS along with the clerks of the court help support the magistrates or judges in this matter as it is also their responsibility to help provide courts with relevant information as to the best suitable course of action to take. This would normally take place after a number of consultations, observations or a combination of both with the child’s parents. This responsibility could also be delegated by CAFCAS to other organizations such as Pro – Contact who act on behalf of CAFCAS and are obliged to follow strict codes of practice which revolve around all varieties of child protection legislations. This enables CAFCAS to pursue more pressing engagements involving children who are more vulnerable to harm rather than using those resources for a family dispute over something such as access to a child.
Finally, The Children Act 1989 also recommends that in the best interest of the child concerned the court should where applicable not delay in the hearing of a case surrounding the welfare of the child. It, furthermore, goes to suggest that any form of delay could have detrimental effects typical of a long and drawn out dispute. Although the court is responsible for the schedule of the hearing, it does, however, give the judge or magistrate if needed (and beneficial to the welfare of the child) the power to prolong any hearing it deems fit.
The above is an example of one county’s interpretation of The Children Act 1989. Within the UK the legislation itself is full policies for bettering the welfare of at risk children. It, in addition, gives clear guidelines for authorities and agencies to adhere that are involved in any such case of a susceptible child. It should also be made clear that the agency CAFCA workers, mentioned above, are formally trained in social work and/or probation services. (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CaringForSomeone/CaringForADisabledChild/DG_10027594,
The Adoption and Children Act 2002 was brought into effect in 2005. It was brought in to replace the Adoption Act 1976 and Children Act 1989 the new Act enabled people who we previously excluded from adopting a child through the likes of sexuality and smokers along with other such things which could pose a risk to a child’s health or wellbeing. The courts and other agencies (the likes of social workers for instance) deemed these examples to be improper and unhealthy for the child to be surrounded by, so a ‘no blanket ban’ clause within the legislation made adoption accessible to all. With this new no blanket policy also made way for another key feature which was to banish selection by area (also known as the postcode lottery) this meant that people from less affluent backgrounds were now eligible to adopt and not just the more wealthier people who would have been one of the main criteria for adoptions as this gave for a better living for a child who previously had nothing.
Another feature within this Act whereby a ‘special guardianship’ law was put into place allowed children to stay in contact with their birth parents, this feature of the legislation is conducted with social workers present and allows for close monitoring of relationships between parents and children, the outcome of these visits would be drawn up in a report and regular assessments would be carried out to check suitability of re-introducing the child back with their birth parents on a permanent basis. The assessments carried out on both the parents who may have had a history of drug or alcohol abuse and child who may have become troublesome because of this environment in which they were living in is essential to ensure that a suitable and caring environment can be sustained allowing the child to grow with the love and care in which every child should be accustomed to. Whilst the child is apart from their maternal parents the child would stay housed with either, foster carers or within care institutions. It is also the duty of the social worker to provide the foster parents with the support they need to ensure the child’s welfare and education is met and kept at a suitable standard.
Suitability of a child to perspective adoptive parents has long been an issue as some children, especially those forced to move, tend to rebel against the authorities’ decision to re-house them. They do this by showing disregard to the temporary carers and in extreme cases by running away from home or possibly stealing and involving the police. To some new foster parents some of these situations can be unbearable and require that the child is removed and re-housed elsewhere this, would be especially true if the foster parents have children of their own and see the bad influence this child may have upon their own children. If this was to be the case then it is the duty of the social worker to put a plan into action to rectify the issue, and also as previously mentioned if the police were to be involved it would be the social worker that would deal with these issues liaising with the police and the courts to find a resolution that would best serve the child. This ‘more information’ policy within the legislation attempts to put an end to these kinds of events from happening and it is considered to be one of the most important parts of the legislation as a suitable pairing of both adoptive parents and child can only best serve and aid the child in the future. (http://www.courtroomadvice.co.uk/adoption-children-act-2002-overview.html)
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