Do Some Separated Parents Who Cannot Agree Arrangements for Their Children Need a More Therapeutic Rather than Forensic Service?
8 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2012
Date Written: 2001
The Children Act 1989 provides the legal framework to deal with the disputes of families who are separating and cannot agree the residence and contact arrangements for their children. In contested proceedings children are normally the subjects of a welfare report, written by a Child and Family Reporter (formerly Family Court Welfare Officer), who assesses what is in the best interests of the child, taking into account, among other matters, their wishes and feelings. Child and Family Reporters are part of the Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS, formerly, and at the time of the study, the Family Court Welfare Service). In 1999, 36,100 welfare reports were written, involving more than 60,000 children. The legal framework is based on the premise that where parents can co-operate with each other, the law should intervene as little as possible. Orders are only to be made where the court believes it is the most satisfactory way of safeguarding or promoting the child's welfare. The overall aim of these section 8 proceedings is to concentrate minds on the practical issues, rather than on the allocation of theoretical rights and duties.
Keywords: child law, family law, Children Act 1998, separating parents, therapeutic service, forensic service
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