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Is the Children and Families Act 2014 fit for purpose?

photos of 4 families

The Select Committee on the Children and Families Act 2014 launches its inquiry into the Children and Families Act 2014 and is inviting written evidence contributions.

Chair’s comments

The Chair of the Committee, Baroness Tyler of Enfieldsaid:

“The Children and Families Act 2014 has a significant impact on the lives of a great number of children and families. It affects the education and care children and young people receive, it can determine how family separation takes place, how those in care navigate and exit the system, what support is given to families, and how their voice is heard in central government.

“The role of our Committee will be to take a holistic and in-depth approach to scrutinising the Act, with a particular focus on the adoption and family justice elements. We will explore whether the Act has achieved its aim of improving the lives of children and families, particularly the most vulnerable children and young people in society and how well it has been implemented.

“To ensure that the work of our Committee is effective, it is important we are informed by as diverse a range of perspectives and experiences as possible. We would encourage people from all backgrounds to contribute to our call for evidence, particularly groups which are often under-represented, including children and young people.” 

The inquiry

The central question to the Committee’s inquiry is whether the Children and Families Act 2014 has achieved its aim of improving the lives of children and families, particularly the most vulnerable children and young people in society. 

Questions

Topics the committee seeks your views on include:

  • To what extent has the Act improved the situation for the most vulnerable children, young people and families in England? 
  • Is the Act enabling faster, more secure and stable adoptions which are in the best interests of the child? 
  • What has been the effect of the repeal of the requirement to consider ethnicity, religion, race, culture and language in England when placing a child for adoption?
  • Have the reforms to the family justice system succeeded in making the system faster, simpler and less adversarial?
  • Has the Act achieved its goal of improving provision for children with special educational and disability needs and disabilities? 
  • Have the reforms to childcare agencies and childcare provision introduced by the Act improved the quality and availability of childcare? 
  • Does the Children’s Commissioner have the correct remit and powers? 
  • Are the systems of shared parental leave, statutory shared parental pay and flexible working functioning adequately?

Timeline

The committee invites written contributions to its inquiry from people of all backgrounds, particularly from often unrepresented groups including children and young people, by Monday 25 April 2022.   

You can find out more and contribute to this inquiry by clicking this link: https://committees.parliament.uk/call-for-evidence/2579

The Committee is also interested in undertaking visits to meet children and families and those supporting them. If you would like to recommend a place or organisation for the Committee to visit, or your organisation would be interested in hosting a visit from the Committee, please contact staff at hlchildfamilyactcomm@parliament.uk.

The Committee encourages interested parties to follow the progress of the inquiry on Twitter @HLChildrenAct and at: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/581/children-and-families-act-2014-committee/

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