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The Children Act 1989 Parts I & II

Part I

1. Welfare of the child.

  1. When a court determines any question with respect to -
    1. the upbringing of a child; or
    2. the administration of a child´s property or the application of any income arising from it,
    the child´s welfare shall be the court´s paramount consideration.
  2. In any proceedings in which any question with respect to the upbringing of a child arises, the court shall have regard to the general principle that any delay in determining the question is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child.
  3. In the circumstances mentioned in subsection (4), a court shall have regard in particular to -
    1. the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his age and understanding);
    2. his physical, emotional and educational needs;
    3. the likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances;
    4. his age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant;
    5. any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
    6. how capable each of his parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs;
    7. the range of powers available to the court under this Act in the proceedings in question.
  4. The circumstances are that -
    1. the court is considering whether to make, vary or discharge a section 8 order, and the making, variation or discharge of the order is opposed by any party to the proceedings; or
    2. the court is considering whether to make, vary or discharge a special guardianship order or an order under Part IV.
  5. Where a court is considering whether or not to make one or more orders under this Act with respect to a child, it shall not make the order or any of the orders unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.

2 Parental responsibility for children.

  1. Where a child´s father and mother were married to each other at the time of his birth, they shall each have parental responsibility for the child.
  2. 1A. Where a child -

    1. has a parent by virtue of section 42 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008; or
    2. has a parent by virtue of section 43 of that Act and is a person to whom section 1(3) of the Family Law Reform Act 1987 applies,
    the child´s mother and the other parent shall each have parental responsibility for the child.
  3. Where a child´s father and mother were not married to each other at the time of his birth -
    1. the mother shall have parental responsibility for the child;
    2. the father shall have parental responsibility for the child if he has acquired it (and has not ceased to have it) in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

    2A. Where a child has a parent by virtue of section 43 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 and is not a person to whom section 1(3) of the Family Law Reform Act 1987 applies -

    1. the mother shall have parental responsibility for the child;
    2. the other parent shall have parental responsibility for the child if she has acquired it (and has not ceased to have it) in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

  4. References in this Act to a child whose father and mother were, or (as the case may be) were not, married to each other at the time of his birth must be read with section 1 of the Family Law Reform Act 1987 (which extends their meaning).
  5. The rule of law that a father is the natural guardian of his legitimate child is abolished.
  6. More than one person may have parental responsibility for the same child at the same time.
  7. A person who has parental responsibility for a child at any time shall not cease to have that responsibility solely because some other person subsequently acquires parental responsibility for the child.
  8. Where more than one person has parental responsibility for a child, each of them may act alone and without the other (or others) in meeting that responsibility; but nothing in this Part shall be taken to affect the operation of any enactment which requires the consent of more than one person in a matter affecting the child.
  9. The fact that a person has parental responsibility for a child shall not entitle him to act in any way which would be incompatible with any order made with respect to the child under this Act.
  10. A person who has parental responsibility for a child may not surrender or transfer any part of that responsibility to another but may arrange for some or all of it to be met by one or more persons acting on his behalf.
  11. The person with whom any such arrangement is made may himself be a person who already has parental responsibility for the child concerned.
  12. The making of any such arrangement shall not affect any liability of the person making it which may arise from any failure to meet any part of his parental responsibility for the child concerned.

3. Meaning of "parental responsibility".

  1. In this Act "parental responsibility" means all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property.
  2. It also includes the rights, powers and duties which a guardian of the child´s estate (appointed, before the commencement of section 5, to act generally) would have had in relation to the child and his property.
  3. The rights referred to in subsection (2) include, in particular, the right of the guardian to receive or recover in his own name, for the benefit of the child, property of whatever description and wherever situated which the child is entitled to receive or recover.
  4. The fact that a person has, or does not have, parental responsibility for a child shall not affect -
    1. any obligation which he may have in relation to the child (such as a statutory duty to maintain the child); or
    2. any rights which, in the event of the child´s death, he (or any other person) may have in relation to the child´s property.
  5. A person who -
    1. does not have parental responsibility for a particular child; but
    2. has care of the child,
may (subject to the provisions of this Act) do what is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child´s welfare.

4. Acquisition of PR by father.

  1. Where a child´s father and mother were not married to each other at the time of his birth, the father shall acquire parental responsibility for the child if -
    1. he becomes registered as the child´s father under any of the enactments specified in subsection (1A);
    2. he and the child´s mother make an agreement (a "parental responsibility agreement") providing for him to have parental responsibility for the child; or
    3. the court, on his application, orders that he shall have parental responsibility for the child.

    1A. The enactments referred to in subsection (1)(a) are -

    1. paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of section 10(1) and of section 10A(1) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953;
    2. paragraphs (a), (b)(i) and (c) of section 18(1), and sections 18(2)(b) and 20(1)(a) of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965; and
    3. sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of Article 14(3) of the Births and Deaths Registration (Northern Ireland) Order 1976.

    1B. The Secretary of State may by order amend subsection (1A) so as to add further enactments to the list in that subsection.

  2. No parental responsibility agreement shall have effect for the purposes of this Act unless -
    1. it is made in the form prescribed by regulations made by the Lord Chancellor; and
    2. where regulations are made by the Lord Chancellor prescribing the manner in which such agreements must be recorded, it is recorded in the prescribed manner.

    2A. A person who has acquired parental responsibility under subsection (1) shall cease to have that responsibility only if the court so orders.

  3. The court may make an order under subsection (2A) on the application -
    1. of any person who has parental responsibility for the child; or
    2. with the leave of the court, of the child himself,
    subject, in the case of parental responsibility acquired under subsection (1)(c), to section 12(4).
  4. The court may only grant leave under subsection (3)(b) if it is satisfied that the child has sufficient understanding to make the proposed application.

4ZA Acquisition of parental responsibility by second female parent

  1. Where a child has a parent by virtue of section 43 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 and is not a person to whom section 1(3) of the Family Law Reform Act 1987 applies, that parent shall acquire parental responsibility for the child if -
    1. she becomes registered as a parent of the child under any of the enactments specified in subsection (2);
    2. she and the child´s mother make an agreement providing for her to have parental responsibility for the child; or
    3. the court, on her application, orders that she shall have parental responsibility for the child.
  2. The enactments referred to in subsection (1)(a) are -
    1. paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of section 10(1B) and of section 10A(1B) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953;
    2. paragraphs (a), (b) and (d) of section 18B(1) and sections 18B(3)(a) and 20(1)(a) of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965; and
    3. sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of Article 14ZA(3) of the Births and Deaths Registration (Northern Ireland) Order 1976.
  3. The Secretary of State may by order amend subsection (2) so as to add further enactments to the list in that subsection.
  4. An agreement under subsection (1)(b) is also a "parental responsibility agreement", and section 4(2) applies in relation to such an agreement as it applies in relation to parental responsibility agreements under section 4.
  5. A person who has acquired parental responsibility under subsection (1) shall cease to have that responsibility only if the court so orders.
  6. The court may make an order under subsection (5) on the application -
    1. of any person who has parental responsibility for the child; or
    2. with the leave of the court, of the child himself,
    subject, in the case of parental responsibility acquired under subsection (1)(c), to section 12(4).
  7. The court may only grant leave under subsection (6)(b) if it is satisfied that the child has sufficient understanding to make the proposed application.

4A. Acquisition of PR by step-parent

  1. Where a child´s parent ("parent A") who has parental responsibility for the child is married to, or a civil partner of, a person who is not the child´s parent ("the step-parent") -
    1. parent A or, if the other parent of the child also has parental responsibility for the child, both parents may by agreement with the step-parent provide for the step-parent to have parental responsibility for the child; or
    2. the court may, on the application of the step-parent, order that the step-parent shall have parental responsibility for the child.
  2. An agreement under subsection (1)(a) is also a "parental responsibility agreement", and section 4(2) applies in relation to such agreements as it applies in relation to parental responsibility agreements under section 4.
  3. A parental responsibility agreement under subsection (1)(a), or an order under subsection (1)(b), may only be brought to an end by an order of the court made on the application -
    1. of any person who has parental responsibility for the child; or
    2. with the leave of the court, of the child himself.
  4. The court may only grant leave under subsection (3)(b) if it is satisfied that the child has sufficient understanding to make the proposed application.

5. Appointment of guardians.

  1. Where an application with respect to a child is made to the court by any individual, the court may by order appoint that individual to be the child´s guardian if -
    1. the child has no parent with parental responsibility for him; or
    2. a residence order has been made with respect to the child in favour of a parent, guardian or special guardian] of his who has died while the order was in force; or
    3. paragraph (b) does not apply, and the child´s only or last surviving special guardian dies.
  2. The power conferred by subsection (1) may also be exercised in any family proceedings if the court considers that the order should be made even though no application has been made for it.
  3. A parent who has parental responsibility for his child may appoint another individual to be the child´s guardian in the event of his death.
  4. A guardian of a child may appoint another individual to take his place as the child´s guardian in the event of his death; and a special guardian of a child may appoint another individual to be the child´s guardian in the event of his death].
  5. An appointment under subsection (3) or (4) shall not have effect unless it is made in writing, is dated and is signed by the person making the appointment or -
    1. in the case of an appointment made by a will which is not signed by the testator, is signed at the direction of the testator in accordance with the requirements of section 9 of the Wills Act 1837; or
    2. in any other case, is signed at the direction of the person making the appointment, in his presence and in the presence of two witnesses who each attest the signature.
  6. A person appointed as a child´s guardian under this section shall have parental responsibility for the child concerned.
  7. Where -
    1. on the death of any person making an appointment under subsection (3) or (4), the child concerned has no parent with parental responsibility for him; or
    2. immediately before the death of any person making such an appointment, a residence order in his favour was in force with respect to the child or he was the child´s only (or last surviving) special guardian],
    the appointment shall take effect on the death of that person.
  8. Where, on the death of any person making an appointment under subsection (3) or (4) -
    1. the child concerned has a parent with parental responsibility for him; and
    2. subsection (7)(b) does not apply,
    the appointment shall take effect when the child no longer has a parent who has parental responsibility for him.
  9. Subsections (1) and (7) do not apply if the residence order referred to in paragraph (b) of those subsections was also made in favour of a surviving parent of the child.
  10. Nothing in this section shall be taken to prevent an appointment under subsection (3) or (4) being made by two or more persons acting jointly.
  11. Subject to any provision made by rules of court, no court shall exercise the High Court´s inherent jurisdiction to appoint a guardian of the estate of any child.
  12. Where rules of court are made under subsection (11) they may prescribe the circumstances in which, and conditions subject to which, an appointment of such a guardian may be made.
  13. A guardian of a child may only be appointed in accordance with the provisions of this section.

6. Guardians: revocation and disclaimer.

  1. An appointment under section 5(3) or (4) revokes an earlier such appointment (including one made in an unrevoked will or codicil) made by the same person in respect of the same child, unless it is clear (whether as the result of an express provision in the later appointment or by any necessary implication) that the purpose of the later appointment is to appoint an additional guardian.
  2. An appointment under section 5(3) or (4) (including one made in an unrevoked will or codicil) is revoked if the person who made the appointment revokes it by a written and dated instrument which is signed -
    1. by him; or
    2. at his direction, in his presence and in the presence of two witnesses who each attest the signature.
  3. An appointment under section 5(3) or (4) (other than one made in a will or codicil) is revoked if, with the intention of revoking the appointment, the person who made it -
    1. destroys the instrument by which it was made; or
    2. has some other person destroy that instrument in his presence.

    3A. An appointment under section 5(3) or (4) (including one made in an unrevoked will or codicil) is revoked if the person appointed is the spouse of the person who made the appointment and either -

    1. a decree of a court of civil jurisdiction in England and Wales dissolves or annuls the marriage, or
    2. the marriage is dissolved or annulled and the divorce or annulment is entitled to recognition in England and Wales by virtue of Part II of the Family Law Act 1986,
    unless a contrary intention appears by the appointment.

    3B. An appointment under section 5(3) or (4)(including one made in an unrevoked will or codicil) is revoked if the person appointed is the civil partner of the person who made the appointment and either -

    1. an order of a court of civil jurisdiction in England and Wales dissolves or annuls the civil partnership, or
    2. the civil partnership is dissolved or annulled and the dissolution or annulment is entitled to recognition in England and Wales by virtue of Chapter 3 of Part 5 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004,
    unless a contrary intention appears by the appointment.
  4. For the avoidance of doubt, an appointment under section 5(3) or (4) made in a will or codicil is revoked if the will or codicil is revoked.
  5. A person who is appointed as a guardian under section 5(3) or (4) may disclaim his appointment by an instrument in writing signed by him and made within a reasonable time of his first knowing that the appointment has taken effect.
  6. Where regulations are made by the Lord Chancellor prescribing the manner in which such disclaimers must be recorded, no such disclaimer shall have effect unless it is recorded in the prescribed manner.
  7. Any appointment of a guardian under section 5 may be brought to an end at any time by order of the court -
    1. on the application of any person who has parental responsibility for the child;
    2. on the application of the child concerned, with leave of the court; or
    3. in any family proceedings, if the court considers that it should be brought to an end even though no application has been made.

7. Welfare reports.

  1. A court considering any question with respect to a child under this Act may -
    1. ask an officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer; or
    2. ask a local authority to arrange for -
      1. an officer of the authority; or
      2. such other person (other than an officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer) as the authority considers appropriate,
      to report to the court on such matters relating to the welfare of that child as are required to be dealt with in the report.
  2. The Lord Chancellor may, after consulting the Lord Chief Justice, make regulations specifying matters which, unless the court orders otherwise, must be dealt with in any report under this section.
  3. The report may be made in writing, or orally, as the court requires.
  4. Regardless of any enactment or rule of law which would otherwise prevent it from doing so, the court may take account of -
    1. any statement contained in the report; and
    2. any evidence given in respect of the matters referred to in the report,
    in so far as the statement or evidence is, in the opinion of the court, relevant to the question which it is considering.
  5. It shall be the duty of the authority or officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer] to comply with any request for a report under this section.
  6. The Lord Chief Justice may nominate a judicial office holder (as defined in section 109(4) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005) to exercise his functions under subsection (2).

Part II

Orders With Respect To Children In Family Proceedings

General

8 Residence, contact and other orders with respect to children

  1. In this Act -
    • "a contact order" means an order requiring the person with whom a child lives, or is to live, to allow the child to visit or stay with the person named in the order, or for that person and the child otherwise to have contact with each other;
    • "a prohibited steps order" means an order that no step which could be taken by a parent in meeting his parental responsibility for a child, and which is of a kind specified in the order, shall be taken by any person without the consent of the court;
    • "a residence order" means an order settling the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom a child is to live; and
    • "a specific issue order" means an order giving directions for the purpose of determining a specific question which has arisen, or which may arise, in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility for a child.
  2. In this Act "a section 8 order" means any of the orders mentioned in subsection (1) and any order varying or discharging such an order.
  3. For the purposes of this Act "family proceedings" means any proceedings -
    1. under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court in relation to children; and
    2. under the enactments mentioned in subsection (4),
    but does not include proceedings on an application for leave under section 100(3).
  4. The enactments are -
    1. Parts I, II and IV of this Act;
    2. the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973;
    3. ba. Schedule 5 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004;
    4. the Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1976;
    5. the Adoption and Children Act 2002;
    6. the Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates´ Courts Act 1978;
    7. ea. Schedule 6 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004;
    8. sections 1 and 9 of the Matrimonial Homes Act 1983;
    9. Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984;
    10. the Family Law Act 1996
    11. sections 11 and 12 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

9. Restrictions on making section 8 orders.

  1. No court shall make any section 8 order, other than a residence order, with respect to a child who is in the care of a local authority.
  2. No application may be made by a local authority for a residence order or contact order and no court shall make such an order in favour of a local authority.
  3. A person who is, or was at any time within the last six months, a local authority foster parent of a child may not apply for leave to apply for a section 8 order with respect to the child unless -
    1. he has the consent of the authority;
    2. he is a relative of the child; or
    3. (c) the child has lived with him for at least one year preceding the application.
  4. . . . . . . . . . . . .
  5. No court shall exercise its powers to make a specific issue order or prohibited steps order -
    1. with a view to achieving a result which could be achieved by making a residence or contact order; or
    2. in any way which is denied to the High Court (by section 100(2)) in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction with respect to children.
  6. No court shall make a specific issue order, contact order or prohibited steps order]will end after the child has reached the age of sixteen unless it is satisfied that the circumstances of the case are exceptional.
  7. No court shall make any section 8 order, other than one varying or discharging such an order, with respect to a child who has reached the age of sixteen unless it is satisfied that the circumstances of the case are exceptional.

10. Power of court to make section 8 orders.

  1. In any family proceedings in which a question arises with respect to the welfare of any child, the court may make a section 8 order with respect to the child if -
    1. an application for the order has been made by a person who -
      1. is entitled to apply for a section 8 order with respect to the child; or
      2. has obtained the leave of the court to make the application; or
    2. the court considers that the order should be made even though no such application has been made.
  2. The court may also make a section 8 order with respect to any child on the application of a person who -
    1. is entitled to apply for a section 8 order with respect to the child; or
    2. has obtained the leave of the court to make the application.
  3. This section is subject to the restrictions imposed by section 9.
  4. The following persons are entitled to apply to the court for any section 8 order with respect to a child -
    1. any parent, guardian or special guardian of the child;
    2. aa. any person who by virtue of section 4A has parental responsibility for the child;

    3. any person in whose favour a residence order is in force with respect to the child.
  5. The following persons are entitled to apply for a residence or contact order with respect to a child -
    1. any party to a marriage (whether or not subsisting) in relation to whom the child is a child of the family;
    2. aa. any civil partner in a civil partnership (whether or not subsisting) in relation to whom the child is a child of the family;

    3. any person with whom the child has lived for a period of at least three years;
    4. any person who -
      1. in any case where a residence order is in force with respect to the child, has the consent of each of the persons in whose favour the order was made;
      2. in any case where the child is in the care of a local authority, has the consent of that authority; or
      3. in any other case, has the consent of each of those (if any) who have parental responsibility for the child.

    5A. A local authority foster parent is entitled to apply for a residence order with respect to a child if the child has lived with him for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the application.

    5B. A relative of a child is entitled to apply for a residence order with respect to the child if the child has lived with the relative for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the application.

  6. A person who would not otherwise be entitled (under the previous provisions of this section) to apply for the variation or discharge of a section 8 order shall be entitled to do so if -
    1. the order was made on his application; or
    2. in the case of a contact order, he is named in the order.
  7. Any person who falls within a category of person prescribed by rules of court is entitled to apply for any such section 8 order as may be prescribed in relation to that category of person.
  8. If a special guardianship order is in force with respect to a child, an application for a residence order may only be made with respect to him, if apart from this subsection the leave of the court is not required, with such leave.

  9. Where the person applying for leave to make an application for a section 8 order is the child concerned, the court may only grant leave if it is satisfied that he has sufficient understanding to make the proposed application for the section 8 order.
  10. Where the person applying for leave to make an application for a section 8 order is not the child concerned, the court shall, in deciding whether or not to grant leave, have particular regard to -
    1. the nature of the proposed application for the section 8 order;
    2. the applicant´s connection with the child;
    3. any risk there might be of that proposed application disrupting the child´s life to such an extent that he would be harmed by it; and
    4. where the child is being looked after by a local authority -
      1. the authority´s plans for the child´s future; and
      2. the wishes and feelings of the child´s parents.
  11. The period of three years mentioned in subsection (5)(b) need not be continuous but must not have begun more than five years before, or ended more than three months before, the making of the application.

11 General principles and supplementary provisions.

  1. In proceedings in which any question of making a section 8 order, or any other question with respect to such an order, arises, the court shall (in the light of any rules made by virtue of subsection (2)) -
    1. draw up a timetable with a view to determining the question without delay; and
    2. give such directions as it considers appropriate for the purpose of ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that that timetable is adhered to.
  2. Rules of court may -
    1. specify periods within which specified steps must be taken in relation to proceedings in which such questions arise; and
    2. make other provision with respect to such proceedings for the purpose of ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that such questions are determined without delay.
  3. Where a court has power to make a section 8 order, it may do so at any time during the course of the proceedings in question even though it is not in a position to dispose finally of those proceedings.
  4. Where a residence order is made in favour of two or more persons who do not themselves all live together, the order may specify the periods during which the child is to live in the different households concerned.
  5. Where -
    1. a residence order has been made with respect to a child; and
    2. as a result of the order the child lives, or is to live, with one of two parents who each have parental responsibility for him,
    the residence order shall cease to have effect if the parents live together for a continuous period of more than six months.
  6. A contact order which requires the parent with whom a child lives to allow the child to visit, or otherwise have contact with, his other parent shall cease to have effect if the parents live together for a continuous period of more than six months.
  7. A section 8 order may -
    1. contain directions about how it is to be carried into effect;
    2. impose conditions which must be complied with by any person -
      1. in whose favour the order is made;
      2. who is a parent of the child concerned;
      3. who is not a parent of his but who has parental responsibility for him; or
      4. with whom the child is living,
      and to whom the conditions are expressed to apply;
    3. be made to have effect for a specified period, or contain provisions which are to have effect for a specified period;
    4. make such incidental, supplemental or consequential provision as the court thinks fit.

11A Contact activity directions

  1. This section applies in proceedings in which the court is considering whether to make provision about contact with a child by making -
    1. a contact order with respect to the child, or
    2. an order varying or discharging a contact order with respect to the child.
  2. The court may make a contact activity direction in connection with that provision about contact.
  3. A contact activity direction is a direction requiring an individual who is a party to the proceedings to take part in an activity that promotes contact with the child concerned.
  4. The direction is to specify the activity and the person providing the activity.
  5. The activities that may be so required include, in particular -
    1. programmes, classes and counselling or guidance sessions of a kind that -
      1. may assist a person as regards establishing, maintaining or improving contact with a child;
      2. may, by addressing a person´s violent behaviour, enable or facilitate contact with a child;
    2. sessions in which information or advice is given as regards making or operating arrangements for contact with a child, including making arrangements by means of mediation.
  6. No individual may be required by a contact activity direction -
    1. to undergo medical or psychiatric examination, assessment or treatment;
    2. to take part in mediation.
  7. A court may not on the same occasion -
    1. make a contact activity direction, and
    2. dispose finally of the proceedings as they relate to contact with the child concerned.
  8. Subsection (2) has effect subject to the restrictions in sections 11B and 11E.
  9. In considering whether to make a contact activity direction, the welfare of the child concerned is to be the court´s paramount consideration.

11B Contact activity directions: further provision

  1. A court may not make a contact activity direction in any proceedings unless there is a dispute as regards the provision about contact that the court is considering whether to make in the proceedings.
  2. A court may not make a contact activity direction requiring an individual who is a child to take part in an activity unless the individual is a parent of the child in relation to whom the court is considering provision about contact.
  3. A court may not make a contact activity direction in connection with the making, variation or discharge of a contact order, if the contact order is, or would if made be, an excepted order.
  4. A contact order with respect to a child is an excepted order if -
    1. it is made in proceedings that include proceedings on an application for a relevant adoption order in respect of the child; or
    2. it makes provision as regards contact between the child and a person who would be a parent or relative of the child but for the child´s adoption by an order falling within subsection (5).
  5. An order falls within this subsection if it is -
    1. a relevant adoption order;
    2. an adoption order, within the meaning of section 72(1) of the Adoption Act 1976, other than an order made by virtue of section 14 of that Act on the application of a married couple one of whom is the mother or the father of the child;
    3. a Scottish adoption order, within the meaning of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, other than an order made -
      1. by virtue of section 14 of the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978 on the application of a married couple one of whom is the mother or the father of the child, or
      2. by virtue of section 15(1)(aa) of that Act; or
    4. a Northern Irish adoption order, within the meaning of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, other than an order made by virtue of Article 14 of the Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 on the application of a married couple one of whom is the mother or the father of the child.
  6. A relevant adoption order is an adoption order, within the meaning of section 46(1) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, other than an order made -
    1. on an application under section 50 of that Act by a couple (within the meaning of that Act) one of whom is the mother or the father of the person to be adopted, or
    2. on an application under section 51(2) of that Act.
  7. A court may not make a contact activity direction in relation to an individual unless the individual is habitually resident in England and Wales; and a direction ceases to have effect if the individual subject to the direction ceases to be habitually resident in England and Wales.

11C Contact activity conditions

  1. This section applies if in any family proceedings the court makes -
    1. a contact order with respect to a child, or
    2. an order varying a contact order with respect to a child.
  2. The contact order may impose, or the contact order may be varied so as to impose, a condition (a "contact activity condition") requiring an individual falling within subsection (3) to take part in an activity that promotes contact with the child concerned.
  3. An individual falls within this subsection if he is -
    1. for the purposes of the contact order so made or varied, the person with whom the child concerned lives or is to live;
    2. the person whose contact with the child concerned is provided for in that order; or
    3. a person upon whom that order imposes a condition under section 11(7)(b).
  4. The condition is to specify the activity and the person providing the activity.
  5. Subsections (5) and (6) of section 11A have effect as regards the activities that may be required by a contact activity condition as they have effect as regards the activities that may be required by a contact activity direction.
  6. Subsection (2) has effect subject to the restrictions in sections 11D and 11E.

11D Contact activity conditions: further provision

  1. A contact order may not impose a contact activity condition on an individual who is a child unless the individual is a parent of the child concerned.
  2. If a contact order is an excepted order (within the meaning given by section 11B(4)), it may not impose (and it may not be varied so as to impose) a contact activity condition.
  3. A contact order may not impose a contact activity condition on an individual unless the individual is habitually resident in England and Wales; and a condition ceases to have effect if the individual subject to the condition ceases to be habitually resident in England and Wales.

11E Contact activity directions and conditions: making

  1. Before making a contact activity direction (or imposing a contact activity condition by means of a contact order), the court must satisfy itself as to the matters falling within subsections (2) to (4).
  2. The first matter is that the activity proposed to be specified is appropriate in the circumstances of the case.
  3. The second matter is that the person proposed to be specified as the provider of the activity is suitable to provide the activity.
  4. The third matter is that the activity proposed to be specified is provided in a place to which the individual who would be subject to the direction (or the condition) can reasonably be expected to travel.
  5. Before making such a direction (or such an order), the court must obtain and consider information about the individual who would be subject to the direction (or the condition) and the likely effect of the direction (or the condition) on him.
  6. Information about the likely effect of the direction (or the condition) may, in particular, include information as to -
    1. any conflict with the individual´s religious beliefs;
    2. any interference with the times (if any) at which he normally works or attends an educational establishment.
  7. The court may ask an officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer to provide the court with information as to the matters in subsections (2) to (5); and it shall be the duty of the officer of the Service or Welsh family proceedings officer to comply with any such request.
  8. In this section "specified" means specified in a contact activity direction (or in a contact activity condition).

11F Contact activity directions and conditions: financial assistance

  1. The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision authorising him to make payments to assist individuals falling within subsection (2) in paying relevant charges or fees.
  2. An individual falls within this subsection if he is required by a contact activity direction or condition to take part in an activity that promotes contact with a child, not being a child ordinarily resident in Wales.
  3. The National Assembly for Wales may by regulations make provision authorising it to make payments to assist individuals falling within subsection (4) in paying relevant charges or fees.
  4. An individual falls within this subsection if he is required by a contact activity direction or condition to take part in an activity that promotes contact with a child who is ordinarily resident in Wales.
  5. A relevant charge or fee, in relation to an activity required by a contact activity direction or condition, is a charge or fee in respect of the activity payable to the person providing the activity.
  6. Regulations under this section may provide that no assistance is available to an individual unless -
    1. the individual satisfies such conditions as regards his financial resources as may be set out in the regulations;
    2. the activity in which the individual is required by a contact activity direction or condition to take part is provided to him in England or Wales;
    3. where the activity in which the individual is required to take part is provided to him in England, it is provided by a person who is for the time being approved by the Secretary of State as a provider of activities required by a contact activity direction or condition;
    4. where the activity in which the individual is required to take part is provided to him in Wales, it is provided by a person who is for the time being approved by the National Assembly for Wales as a provider of activities required by a contact activity direction or condition.
  7. Regulations under this section may make provision -
    1. as to the maximum amount of assistance that may be paid to or in respect of an individual as regards an activity in which he is required by a contact activity direction or condition to take part;
    2. where the amount may vary according to an individual´s financial resources, as to the method by which the amount is to be determined;
    3. authorising payments by way of assistance to be made directly to persons providing activities required by a contact activity direction or condition.

11G Contact activity directions and conditions: monitoring

  1. This section applies if in any family proceedings the court -
    1. makes a contact activity direction in relation to an individual, or
    2. makes a contact order that imposes, or varies a contact order so as to impose, a contact activity condition on an individual.
  2. The court may on making the direction (or imposing the condition by means of a contact order) ask an officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer -
    1. to monitor, or arrange for the monitoring of, the individual´s compliance with the direction (or the condition);
    2. to report to the court on any failure by the individual to comply with the direction (or the condition).
  3. It shall be the duty of the officer of the Service or Welsh family proceedings officer to comply with any request under subsection (2).

11H Monitoring contact

  1. This section applies if in any family proceedings the court makes -
    1. a contact order with respect to a child in favour of a person, or
    2. an order varying such a contact order.
  2. The court may ask an officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer -
    1. to monitor whether an individual falling within subsection (3) complies with the contact order (or the contact order as varied);
    2. to report to the court on such matters relating to the individual´s compliance as the court may specify in the request.
  3. An individual falls within this subsection if the contact order so made (or the contact order as so varied) -
    1. requires the individual to allow contact with the child concerned;
    2. names the individual as having contact with the child concerned; or
    3. imposes a condition under section 11(7)(b) on the individual.
  4. If the contact order (or the contact order as varied) includes a contact activity condition, a request under subsection (2) is to be treated as relating to the provisions of the order other than the contact activity condition.
  5. The court may make a request under subsection (2) -
    1. on making the contact order (or the order varying the contact order), or
    2. at any time during the subsequent course of the proceedings as they relate to contact with the child concerned.
  6. In making a request under subsection (2), the court is to specify the period for which the officer of the Service or Welsh family proceedings officer is to monitor compliance with the order; and the period specified may not exceed twelve months.
  7. It shall be the duty of the officer of the Service or Welsh family proceedings officer to comply with any request under subsection (2).
  8. The court may order any individual falling within subsection (3) to take such steps as may be specified in the order with a view to enabling the officer of the Service or Welsh family proceedings officer to comply with the court´s request under subsection (2).
  9. But the court may not make an order under subsection (8) with respect to an individual who is a child unless he is a parent of the child with respect to whom the order falling within subsection (1) was made.
  10. A court may not make a request under subsection (2) in relation to a contact order that is an excepted order (within the meaning given by section 11B(4)).

11I Contact orders: warning notices

Where the court makes (or varies) a contact order, it is to attach to the contact order (or the order varying the contact order) a notice warning of the consequences of failing to comply with the contact order.

11J Enforcement orders

  1. This section applies if a contact order with respect to a child has been made.
  2. If the court is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a person has failed to comply with the contact order, it may make an order (an "enforcement order") imposing on the person an unpaid work requirement.
  3. But the court may not make an enforcement order if it is satisfied that the person had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with the contact order.
  4. The burden of proof as to the matter mentioned in subsection (3) lies on the person claiming to have had a reasonable excuse, and the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities.
  5. The court may make an enforcement order in relation to the contact order only on the application of -
    1. the person who is, for the purposes of the contact order, the person with whom the child concerned lives or is to live;
    2. the person whose contact with the child concerned is provided for in the contact order;
    3. any individual subject to a condition under section 11(7)(b) or a contact activity condition imposed by the contact order; or
    4. the child concerned.
  6. Where the person proposing to apply for an enforcement order in relation to a contact order is the child concerned, the child must obtain the leave of the court before making such an application.
  7. The court may grant leave to the child concerned only if it is satisfied that he has sufficient understanding to make the proposed application.
  8. Subsection (2) has effect subject to the restrictions in sections 11K and 11L.
  9. The court may suspend an enforcement order for such period as it thinks fit.
  10. Nothing in this section prevents a court from making more than one enforcement order in relation to the same person on the same occasion.
  11. Proceedings in which any question of making an enforcement order, or any other question with respect to such an order, arises are to be regarded for the purposes of section 11(1) and (2) as proceedings in which a question arises with respect to a section 8 order.
  12. In Schedule A1 -
    1. Part 1 makes provision as regards an unpaid work requirement;
    2. Part 2 makes provision in relation to the revocation and amendment of enforcement orders and failure to comply with such orders.
  13. This section is without prejudice to section 63(3) of the Magistrates´ Courts Act 1980 as it applies in relation to contact orders.

11K Enforcement orders: further provision

  1. A court may not make an enforcement order against a person in respect of a failure to comply with a contact order unless it is satisfied that before the failure occurred the person had been given (in accordance with rules of court) a copy of, or otherwise informed of the terms of -
    1. in the case of a failure to comply with a contact order that was varied before the failure occurred, a notice under section 11I relating to the order varying the contact order or, where more than one such order has been made, the last order preceding the failure in question;
    2. in any other case, a notice under section 11I relating to the contact order.
  2. A court may not make an enforcement order against a person in respect of any failure to comply with a contact order occurring before the person attained the age of 18.
  3. A court may not make an enforcement order against a person in respect of a failure to comply with a contact order that is an excepted order (within the meaning given by section 11B(4)).
  4. A court may not make an enforcement order against a person unless the person is habitually resident in England and Wales; and an enforcement order ceases to have effect if the person subject to the order ceases to be habitually resident in England and Wales.

11L Enforcement orders: making

  1. Before making an enforcement order as regards a person in breach of a contact order, the court must be satisfied that -
    1. making the enforcement order proposed is necessary to secure the person´s compliance with the contact order or any contact order that has effect in its place;
    2. the likely effect on the person of the enforcement order proposed to be made is proportionate to the seriousness of the breach of the contact order.
  2. Before making an enforcement order, the court must satisfy itself that provision for the person to work under an unpaid work requirement imposed by an enforcement order can be made in the local justice area in which the person in breach resides or will reside.
  3. Before making an enforcement order as regards a person in breach of a contact order, the court must obtain and consider information about the person and the likely effect of the enforcement order on him.
  4. Information about the likely effect of the enforcement order may, in particular, include information as to -
    1. any conflict with the person´s religious beliefs;
    2. any interference with the times (if any) at which he normally works or attends an educational establishment.
  5. A court that proposes to make an enforcement order may ask an officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer to provide the court with information as to the matters in subsections (2) and (3).
  6. It shall be the duty of the officer of the Service or Welsh family proceedings officer to comply with any request under this section.
  7. In making an enforcement order in relation to a contact order, a court must take into account the welfare of the child who is the subject of the contact order.

11M Enforcement orders: monitoring

  1. On making an enforcement order in relation to a person, the court is to ask an officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer -
    1. to monitor, or arrange for the monitoring of, the person´s compliance with the unpaid work requirement imposed by the order;
    2. to report to the court if a report under paragraph 8 of Schedule A1 is made in relation to the person;
    3. to report to the court on such other matters relating to the person´s compliance as may be specified in the request;
    4. to report to the court if the person is, or becomes, unsuitable to perform work under the requirement.
  2. It shall be the duty of the officer of the Service or Welsh family proceedings officer to comply with any request under this section.

11N Enforcement orders: warning notices

Where the court makes an enforcement order, it is to attach to the order a notice warning of the consequences of failing to comply with the order.

11O Compensation for financial loss

  1. This section applies if a contact order with respect to a child has been made.
  2. If the court is satisfied that -
    1. an individual has failed to comply with the contact order, and
    2. a person falling within subsection (6) has suffered financial loss by reason of the breach,
    it may make an order requiring the individual in breach to pay the person compensation in respect of his financial loss.
  3. But the court may not make an order under subsection (2) if it is satisfied that the individual in breach had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with the contact order.
  4. The burden of proof as to the matter mentioned in subsection (3) lies on the individual claiming to have had a reasonable excuse.
  5. An order under subsection (2) may be made only on an application by the person who claims to have suffered financial loss.
  6. A person falls within this subsection if he is -
    1. the person who is, for the purposes of the contact order, the person with whom the child concerned lives or is to live;
    2. the person whose contact with the child concerned is provided for in the contact order;
    3. an individual subject to a condition under section 11(7)(b) or a contact activity condition imposed by the contact order; or
    4. the child concerned.
  7. Where the person proposing to apply for an order under subsection (2) is the child concerned, the child must obtain the leave of the court before making such an application.
  8. The court may grant leave to the child concerned only if it is satisfied that he has sufficient understanding to make the proposed application.
  9. The amount of compensation is to be determined by the court, but may not exceed the amount of the applicant´s financial loss.
  10. In determining the amount of compensation payable by the individual in breach, the court must take into account the individual´s financial circumstances.
  11. An amount ordered to be paid as compensation may be recovered by the applicant as a civil debt due to him.
  12. Subsection (2) has effect subject to the restrictions in section 11P.
  13. Proceedings in which any question of making an order under subsection (2) arises are to be regarded for the purposes of section 11(1) and (2) as proceedings in which a question arises with respect to a section 8 order.
  14. In exercising its powers under this section, a court is to take into account the welfare of the child concerned.

11P Orders under section 11O(2): further provision

  1. A court may not make an order under section 11O(2) requiring an individual to pay compensation in respect of a failure by him to comply with a contact order unless it is satisfied that before the failure occurred the individual had been given (in accordance with rules of court) a copy of, or otherwise informed of the terms of -
    1. in the case of a failure to comply with a contact order that was varied before the failure occurred, a notice under section 11I relating to the order varying the contact order or, where more than one such order has been made, the last order preceding the failure in question;
    2. in any other case, a notice under section 11I relating to the contact order.
  2. A court may not make an order under section 11O(2) requiring an individual to pay compensation in respect of a failure by him to comply with a contact order where the failure occurred before the individual attained the age of 18.
  3. A court may not make an order under section 11O(2) requiring an individual to pay compensation in respect of a failure by him to comply with a contact order that is an excepted order (within the meaning given by section 11B(4)).

12 Residence orders and parental responsibility.

  1. Where the court makes a residence order in favour of the father of a child it shall, if the father would not otherwise have parental responsibility for the child, also make an order under section 4 giving him that responsibility.
  2. 1A. Where the court makes a residence order in favour of a woman who is a parent of a child by virtue of section 43 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 it shall, if that woman would not otherwise have parental responsibility for the child, also make an order under section 4ZA giving her that responsibility.

  3. Where the court makes a residence order in favour of any person who is not the parent or guardian of the child concerned that person shall have parental responsibility for the child while the residence order remains in force.
  4. Where a person has parental responsibility for a child as a result of subsection (2), he shall not have the right -
    1. . . . . . . . . . .
    2. to agree, or refuse to agree, to the making of an adoption order, or an order under section 84 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, with respect to the child; or
    3. to appoint a guardian for the child.
  5. Where subsection (1) or (1A) requires the court to make an order under section 4 or 4ZA in respect of the parent of a child, the court shall not bring that order to an end at any time while the residence order concerned remains in force.
  6. . . . . . . . . . .
  7. . . . . . . . . . .

13 Change of child´s name or removal from jurisdiction.

  1. Where a residence order is in force with respect to a child, no person may -
    1. cause the child to be known by a new surname; or
    2. remove him from the United Kingdom;
    without either the written consent of every person who has parental responsibility for the child or the leave of the court.
  2. Subsection (1)(b) does not prevent the removal of a child, for a period of less than one month, by the person in whose favour the residence order is made.
  3. In making a residence order with respect to a child the court may grant the leave required by subsection (1)(b), either generally or for specified purposes.

14 Enforcement of residence orders.

  1. Where
    1. a residence order is in force with respect to a child in favour of any person; and
    2. any other person (including one in whose favour the order is also in force) is in breach of the arrangements settled by that order,
    the person mentioned in paragraph (a) may, as soon as the requirement in subsection (2) is complied with, enforce the order under section 63(3) of the Magistrates´ Courts Act 1980 as if it were an order requiring the other person to produce the child to him.
  2. The requirement is that a copy of the residence order has been served on the other person.
  3. Subsection (1) is without prejudice to any other remedy open to the person in whose favour the residence order is in force.

14A Special guardianship orders

  1. A "special guardianship order" is an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child´s "special guardian" (or special guardians).
  2. A special guardian -
    1. must be aged eighteen or over; and
    2. must not be a parent of the child in question,
    and subsections (3) to (6) are to be read in that light.
  3. The court may make a special guardianship order with respect to any child on the application of an individual who -
    1. is entitled to make such an application with respect to the child; or
    2. has obtained the leave of the court to make the application,
    or on the joint application of more than one such individual.
  4. Section 9(3) applies in relation to an application for leave to apply for a special guardianship order as it applies in relation to an application for leave to apply for a section 8 order.
  5. The individuals who are entitled to apply for a special guardianship order with respect to a child are -
    1. any guardian of the child;
    2. any individual in whose favour a residence order is in force with respect to the child;
    3. any individual listed in subsection (5)(b) or (c) of section 10 (as read with subsection (10) of that section);
    4. a local authority foster parent with whom the child has lived for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the application.
    5. a relative with whom the child has lived for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the application.
  6. The court may also make a special guardianship order with respect to a child in any family proceedings in which a question arises with respect to the welfare of the child if -
    1. an application for the order has been made by an individual who falls within subsection (3)(a) or (b) (or more than one such individual jointly); or
    2. (b) the court considers that a special guardianship order should be made even though no such application has been made.
  7. No individual may make an application under subsection (3) or (6)(a) unless, before the beginning of the period of three months ending with the date of the application, he has given written notice of his intention to make the application -
    1. if the child in question is being looked after by a local authority, to that local authority, or
    2. otherwise, to the local authority in whose area the individual is ordinarily resident.
  8. On receipt of such a notice, the local authority must investigate the matter and prepare a report for the court dealing with -
    1. the suitability of the applicant to be a special guardian;
    2. such matters (if any) as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State; and
    3. any other matter which the local authority consider to be relevant.
  9. The court may itself ask a local authority to conduct such an investigation and prepare such a report, and the local authority must do so.
  10. The local authority may make such arrangements as they see fit for any person to act on their behalf in connection with conducting an investigation or preparing a report referred to in subsection (8) or (9).
  11. The court may not make a special guardianship order unless it has received a report dealing with the matters referred to in subsection (8).
  12. Subsections (8) and (9) of section 10 apply in relation to special guardianship orders as they apply in relation to section 8 orders.
  13. This section is subject to section 29(5) and (6) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

14B Special guardianship orders: making

  1. Before making a special guardianship order, the court must consider whether, if the order were made -
    1. a contact order should also be made with respect to the child,
    2. any section 8 order in force with respect to the child should be varied or discharged.
    3. where a contact order made with respect to the child is not discharged, any enforcement order relating to that contact order should be revoked, and
    4. where a contact activity direction has been made as regards contact with the child and is in force, that contact activity direction should be discharged.
  2. On making a special guardianship order, the court may also -
    1. give leave for the child to be known by a new surname;
    2. grant the leave required by section 14C(3)(b), either generally or for specified purposes.

14C Special guardianship orders: effect

  1. The effect of a special guardianship order is that while the order remains in force -
    1. a special guardian appointed by the order has parental responsibility for the child in respect of whom it is made; and
    2. subject to any other order in force with respect to the child under this Act, a special guardian is entitled to exercise parental responsibility to the exclusion of any other person with parental responsibility for the child (apart from another special guardian).
  2. Subsection (1) does not affect -
    1. the operation of any enactment or rule of law which requires the consent of more than one person with parental responsibility in a matter affecting the child; or
    2. any rights which a parent of the child has in relation to the child´s adoption or placement for adoption.
  3. While a special guardianship order is in force with respect to a child, no person may -
    1. cause the child to be known by a new surname; or
    2. remove him from the United Kingdom,
    without either the written consent of every person who has parental responsibility for the child or the leave of the court.
  4. Subsection (3)(b) does not prevent the removal of a child, for a period of less than three months, by a special guardian of his.
  5. If the child with respect to whom a special guardianship order is in force dies, his special guardian must take reasonable steps to give notice of that fact to -
    1. each parent of the child with parental responsibility; and
    2. each guardian of the child,
    but if the child has more than one special guardian, and one of them has taken such steps in relation to a particular parent or guardian, any other special guardian need not do so as respects that parent or guardian.
  6. This section is subject to section 29(7) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

14D Special guardianship orders: variation and discharge

  1. The court may vary or discharge a special guardianship order on the application of -
    1. the special guardian (or any of them, if there are more than one);
    2. any parent or guardian of the child concerned;
    3. any individual in whose favour a residence order is in force with respect to the child;
    4. any individual not falling within any of paragraphs (a) to (c) who has, or immediately before the making of the special guardianship order had, parental responsibility for the child;
    5. the child himself; or
    6. a local authority designated in a care order with respect to the child.
  2. In any family proceedings in which a question arises with respect to the welfare of a child with respect to whom a special guardianship order is in force, the court may also vary or discharge the special guardianship order if it considers that the order should be varied or discharged, even though no application has been made under subsection (1).
  3. The following must obtain the leave of the court before making an application under subsection (1) -
    1. the child;
    2. any parent or guardian of his;
    3. any step-parent of his who has acquired, and has not lost, parental responsibility for him by virtue of section 4A;
    4. any individual falling within subsection (1)(d) who immediately before the making of the special guardianship order had, but no longer has, parental responsibility for him.
  4. Where the person applying for leave to make an application under subsection (1) is the child, the court may only grant leave if it is satisfied that he has sufficient understanding to make the proposed application under subsection (1).
  5. The court may not grant leave to a person falling within subsection (3)(b)(c) or (d) unless it is satisfied that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the making of the special guardianship order.

14E Special guardianship orders: supplementary

  1. In proceedings in which any question of making, varying or discharging a special guardianship order arises, the court shall (in the light of any rules made by virtue of subsection (3)) -
    1. draw up a timetable with a view to determining the question without delay; and
    2. give such directions as it considers appropriate for the purpose of ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the timetable is adhered to.
  2. Subsection (1) applies also in relation to proceedings in which any other question with respect to a special guardianship order arises.
  3. The power to make rules in subsection (2) of section 11 applies for the purposes of this section as it applies for the purposes of that.
  4. A special guardianship order, or an order varying one, may contain provisions which are to have effect for a specified period.
  5. Section 11(7) (apart from paragraph (c)) applies in relation to special guardianship orders and orders varying them as it applies in relation to section 8 orders.

14F Special guardianship support services

  1. Each local authority must make arrangements for the provision within their area of special guardianship support services, which means -
    1. counselling, advice and information; and
    2. such other services as are prescribed,
    in relation to special guardianship.
  2. The power to make regulations under subsection (1)(b) is to be exercised so as to secure that local authorities provide financial support.
  3. At the request of any of the following persons -
    1. a child with respect to whom a special guardianship order is in force;
    2. a special guardian;
    3. a parent;
    4. any other person who falls within a prescribed description,
    a local authority may carry out an assessment of that person´s needs for special guardianship support services (but, if the Secretary of State so provides in regulations, they must do so if he is a person of a prescribed description, or if his case falls within a prescribed description, or if both he and his case fall within prescribed descriptions).
  4. A local authority may, at the request of any other person, carry out an assessment of that person´s needs for special guardianship support services.
  5. Where, as a result of an assessment, a local authority decide that a person has needs for special guardianship support services, they must then decide whether to provide any such services to that person.
  6. If -
    1. a local authority decide to provide any special guardianship support services to a person, and
    2. the circumstances fall within a prescribed description,
    the local authority must prepare a plan in accordance with which special guardianship support services are to be provided to him, and keep the plan under review.
  7. The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about assessments, preparing and reviewing plans, the provision of special guardianship support services in accordance with plans and reviewing the provision of special guardianship support services.
  8. The regulations may in particular make provision -
    1. about the type of assessment which is to be carried out, or the way in which an assessment is to be carried out;
    2. about the way in which a plan is to be prepared;
    3. about the way in which, and the time at which, a plan or the provision of special guardianship support services is to be reviewed;
    4. about the considerations to which a local authority are to have regard in carrying out an assessment or review or preparing a plan;
    5. as to the circumstances in which a local authority may provide special guardianship support services subject to conditions (including conditions as to payment for the support or the repayment of financial support);
    6. as to the consequences of conditions imposed by virtue of paragraph (e) not being met (including the recovery of any financial support provided);
    7. as to the circumstances in which this section may apply to a local authority in respect of persons who are outside that local authority´s area;
    8. as to the circumstances in which a local authority may recover from another local authority the expenses of providing special guardianship support services to any person.
  9. A local authority may provide special guardianship support services (or any part of them) by securing their provision by -
    1. another local authority; or
    2. a person within a description prescribed in regulations of persons who may provide special guardianship support services,
    and may also arrange with any such authority or person for that other authority or that person to carry out the local authority´s functions in relation to assessments under this section.
  10. A local authority may carry out an assessment of the needs of any person for the purposes of this section at the same time as an assessment of his needs is made under any other provision of this Act or under any other enactment.
  11. Section 27 (co-operation between authorities) applies in relation to the exercise of functions of a local authority under this section as it applies in relation to the exercise of functions of a local authority under Part 3.

14G Special guardianship support services: representations

. . . . . . . . . .

15 Orders for financial relief with respect to children.

  1. Schedule 1 (which consists primarily of the re-enactment, with consequential amendments and minor modifications, of provisions of section 6 of Family Law Reform Act 1969, the Guardianship of Minors Acts 1971 and 1973, the Children Act 1975 and of sections 15 and 16 of the Family Law Reform Act 1987) makes provision in relation to financial relief for children.
  2. The powers of a magistrates´ court under section 60 of the Magistrates´ Courts Act 1980 to revoke, revive or vary an order for the periodical payment of money and the power of the clerk of a magistrates´ court to vary such an order shall not apply in relation to an order made under Schedule 1.

16 Family assistance orders.

  1. Where, in any family proceedings, the court has power to make an order under this Part with respect to any child, it may (whether or not it makes such an order) make an order requiring -
    1. an officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer to be made available; or
    2. a local authority to make an officer of the authority available,
    to advise, assist and (where appropriate) befriend any person named in the order.
  2. The persons who may be named in an order under this section ("a family assistance order") are -
    1. any parent, guardian or special guardian of the child;
    2. any person with whom the child is living or in whose favour a contact order is in force with respect to the child;
    3. the child himself.
  3. No court may make a family assistance order unless -
    1. . . . . . . . . . .
    2. it has obtained the consent of every person to be named in the order other than the child.
  4. A family assistance order may direct -
    1. the person named in the order; or
    2. such of the persons named in the order as may be specified in the order,
    to take such steps as may be so specified with a view to enabling the officer concerned to be kept informed of the address of any person named in the order and to be allowed to visit any such person.

    4A. If the court makes a family assistance order with respect to a child and the order is to be in force at the same time as a contact order made with respect to the child, the family assistance order may direct the officer concerned to give advice and assistance as regards establishing, improving and maintaining contact to such of the persons named in the order as may be specified in the order.

  5. Unless it specifies a shorter period, a family assistance order shall have effect for a period of twelve months beginning with the day on which it is made.
  6. If the court makes a family assistance order with respect to a child and the order is to be in force at the same time as a section 8 order made with respect to the child, the family assistance order may direct the officer concerned to report to the court on such matters relating to the section 8 order as the court may require (including the question whether the section 8 order ought to be varied or discharged).
  7. A family assistance order shall not be made so as to require a local authority to make an officer of theirs available unless -
    1. the authority agree; or
    2. the child concerned lives or will live within their area.
  8. . . . . . . . . . .
  9. . . . . . . . . . .

16A Risk assessments

  1. This section applies to the following functions of officers of the Service or Welsh family proceedings officers -
    1. any function in connection with family proceedings in which the court has power to make an order under this Part with respect to a child or in which a question with respect to such an order arises;
    2. any function in connection with an order made by the court in such proceedings.
  2. If, in carrying out any function to which this section applies, an officer of the Service or a Welsh family proceedings officer is given cause to suspect that the child concerned is at risk of harm, he must -
    1. make a risk assessment in relation to the child, and
    2. provide the risk assessment to the court.
  3. A risk assessment, in relation to a child who is at risk of suffering harm of a particular sort, is an assessment of the risk of that harm being suffered by the child.

Part III

Local Authority Support for Children and Families

Provision of services for children and their families

17. Provision of services for children in need, their families and others

  1. It shall be the general duty of every local authority (in addition to the other duties imposed on them by this Part)‐
    1. to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need; and
    2. so far as is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families,
    3. by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those children´s needs.

  2. For the purpose principally of facilitating the discharge of their general duty under this section, every local authority shall have the specific duties and powers set out in Part 1 of Schedule 2.
  3. Any service provided by an authority in the exercise of functions conferred on them by this section may be provided for the family of a particular child in need or for any member of his family, if it is provided with a view to safeguarding or promoting the child´s welfare.
  4. The "appropriate national authority" may by order amend any provision of Part I of Schedule 2 or add any further duty or power to those for the time being mentioned there.
  5. 4A)Before determining what (if any) services to provide for a particular child in need in the exercise of functions conferred on them by this section, a local authority shall, so far as is reasonably practicable and consistent with the child´s welfare‐

    1. ascertain the child´s wishes and feelings regarding the provision of those services; and
    2. give due consideration (having regard to his age and understanding) to such wishes and feelings of the child as they have been able to ascertain.

  6. Every local authority‐
    1. shall facilitate the provision by others (including in particular voluntary organisations) of services which the authority have power to provide by virtue of this section, or section 18, 20, 23, 23B to 23D, 24A or 24B; and
    2. may make such arrangements as they see fit for any person to act on their behalf in the provision of any such service.
  7. The services provided by a local authority in the exercise of functions conferred on them by this section may include [F4providing accommodation and] giving assistance in kind or, in exceptional circumstances, in cash.
  8. Assistance may be unconditional or subject to conditions as to the repayment of the assistance or of its value (in whole or in part).
  9. Before giving any assistance or imposing any conditions, a local authority shall have regard to the means of the child concerned and of each of his parents.
  10. No person shall be liable to make any repayment of assistance or of its value at any time when he is in receipt of income support under Part VII of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, of any element of child tax credit other than the family element, of working tax credit, of an income-based jobseeker´s allowance or of an income-related employment and support allowance.
  11. For the purposes of this Part a child shall be taken to be in need if‐
    1. he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him of services by a local authority under this Part;
    2. his health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for him of such services; or
    3. he is disabled,
    4. and "family", in relation to such a child, includes any person who has parental responsibility for the child and any other person with whom he has been living.

  12. For the purposes of this Part, a child is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be prescribed; and in this Part‐
  13. "development" means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development; and

    "health" means physical or mental health.

  14. The Treasury may by regulations prescribe circumstances in which a person is to be treated for the purposes of this Part (or for such of those purposes as are prescribed) as in receipt of any element of child tax credit other than the family element or of working tax credit.

17A Direct payments

  1. The "appropriate national authority" may by regulations make provision for and in connection with requiring or authorising the responsible authority in the case of a person of a prescribed description who falls within subsection (2) to make, with that person´s consent, such payments to him as they may determine in accordance with the regulations in respect of his securing the provision of the service mentioned in that subsection.
  2. A person falls within this subsection if he is‐
    1. a person with parental responsibility for a disabled child,
    2. a disabled person with parental responsibility for a child, or
    3. a disabled child aged 16 or 17,
    4. and a local authority (“the responsible authority”) have decided for the purposes of section 17 that the child´s needs (or, if he is such a disabled child, his needs) call for the provision by them of a service in exercise of functions conferred on them under that section.

  3. Subsections (3) to (5) and (7) of section 57 of the 2001 Act shall apply, with any necessary modifications, in relation to regulations under this section as they apply in relation to regulations under that section.
  4. Regulations under this section shall provide that, where payments are made under the regulations to a person falling within subsection (5)‐
    1. the payments shall be made at the rate mentioned in subsection (4)(a) of section 57 of the 2001 Act (as applied by subsection (3)); and
    2. subsection (4)(b) of that section shall not apply.
  5. A person falls within this subsection if he is‐
    1. a person falling within subsection (2)(a) or (b) and the child in question is aged 16 or 17, or
    2. a person who is in receipt of income support ... under Part 7 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 (c. 4), of any element of child tax credit other than the family element, of working tax credit, of an income-based jobseeker´s allowance or of an income-related employment and support allowance.
  6. In this section‐

    "the 2001 Act" means the Health and Social Care Act 2001;

    "disabled" in relation to an adult has the same meaning as that given by section 17(11) in relation to a child;

    "prescribed" means specified in or determined in accordance with regulations under this section (and has the same meaning in the provisions of the 2001 Act mentioned in subsection (3) as they apply by virtue of that subsection).

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Michael Robinson © 2012

Family law information for parents whose children are resident in England and Wales

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