Fewer care orders made under 26 week timetable

fostering and adoption

The 26 week timetable for care proceedings introduced in 2014 has halved their average length, new research reveals.

The target timescale was included in the Children and Families Act in order to discourage excessive delay and uncertainty for children who have been take into the care system following neglect or abuse. Previously care proceedings typically took longer than six months on average.

According to initial research led by the Universities of Bristol and East Anglia, the result has been a fall in the overall number of care and placement (adoption) orders made but an increase in special guardianship and supervision orders – a rebalancing which suggests social workers and family courts now make a greater effort to explore alternatives to full adoption.

This is the first in-depth analysis of the effects of the 26 week timetable. The report is based on more than 300 care cases from 2014 and 2015.

Other findings include the use of fewer external experts and a greater reliance placed on work carried out by local social workers and the designated children’s guardian. In addition, the involvement of magistrates in care proceedings has dropped sharply, from 60 per cent of cases in the year to 2010 to just 20 per cent today.

A second stage in the study will focus on the subsequent welfare of the affected children following placement with an adoptive family, foster carers or guardian.

Read more here.

Photo by bluekidcory under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

View more from this author

3 comments

k - February 20, 2017 at 2:36pm

“a rebalancing which suggests social workers and family courts now make a greater effort to explore alternatives to full adoption.”

well this isnt happening at Sunderland LA. our 3 children were taken in Nov 2014 on the suspicion we had physically harmed them yet they never had a mark on them. they did all their checks etc and found nothing. we had no previous negative record during our 12.5 yrs as good parents yet they still went straight for court proceedings 5 weeks in and then an Adoption order. We know it was to take our 10 month old baby. this is the same LA that did not respond to the request by the Transparency project when they were asked if they still use targets for Adoption. They are very good at refusing to answer awkward questions. thats how they are so successful at removing children permanently. These type of LAs need to be investigated by the serious crime office.

Belinda Langley - February 20, 2017 at 10:42pm

The family court system is a joke. SS state they are not responsible for decisions made to remove children- They are in fact the puppet masters. The courts simply do their bidding. Parents lawyers don’t seem to be doing their jobs, preferring to ‘secretly’ side with SS and children are removed, when with a little extra work families could stay together.

keith - February 21, 2017 at 3:54pm

Belinda
you absolutely right on the bulls eye.
even the judges are doing secret deals with social workers behind the backs of the parents. weather the parents solicitors are aware of it but keeping quiet i dont know but i would guess that they do know so they must be in on the whole thing aswell.

Leave a comment