• Rhetoric and reality surrounding care proceedings: family justice under strain

      Holt, Kim; Kelly, Nancy (2012)
      Since mid-2000 a number of important changes to policy, legislation, government guidance and practice directions have been introduced in child-protection practice. These changes have the intention of placing children and families at the heart of decision-making with regard to judgements about their future. Central to these changes is the commitment to reducing delay in the conduct and resolution of cases so that outcomes for children are optimised, and costs and resources are effectively managed. Proposed legislation to impose a six-month time limit for the completion of care cases emphasises the drive to frontload work with children and families pre-proceedings. This paper explores the issues surrounding the boundary of decision-making between the courts and the local authority following the publication of the Family justice review. It considers the implications of making a greater number of highly consequential decisions within administrative rather than judicial settings, and explores the rights of children and parents within such decision-making processes. Whilst the intention of policy changes may be laudable, it is argued, in line with Munro that a number of obstacles may result in less desirable outcomes for children.