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Family Justice Review proposals

The Family Justice Review panel has announced a package of recommendations aimed at tackling delays in the family justice system and to make sure that children and families are given the service they deserve.

 

The key recommendations are:

 

  • A new six month time limit in care cases so delays are significantly reduced.
  • Enabling people to make their own arrangements for their children when they separate, and only use courts when necessary.
  • Overhauling the family justice system so that agencies and professionals work together with greater coherence to improve the experience and outcomes for children and families.

 

These recommendations follow the independent review panel findings that the current system of family justice is under huge strain. Rising caseloads coupled with incoherent organisation and processes are causing damaging delays for children and families. It takes on average over a year for an outcome in a care case - far too long in the life of a child. The backlog of cases in the public law system means today, around 20,000 children are waiting for their futures to be decided.

 

The independent panel was appointed to review the whole of the family justice system in England and Wales, looking at all aspects of the system from court decisions on taking children into care, to disputes over contact with children when parents divorce. This is the most comprehensive and far-reaching review of the family justice system since the Children Act in 1989. The final review has now been formally presented to the Ministry of Justice, Department for Education and the Welsh Government for consideration.

 

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