Editorial Comment: Proceed with care on law

The government’s reform of child care proceedings is not without risk.

A new funding system has been implemented this month with a rise in council fees for care proceedings from £150 to between £1,775 and £4,875.

While the government has provided £40m to cover the fees, fears persist that it could deter cash-strapped councils from initiating care proceedings leaving vulnerable children in dangerous situations. The fees are part of the Public Law Outline, which also seeks to reduce delays in the system by avoiding proceedings where possible. Again there are concerns. Fortunately, awareness is growing. The children’s commissioners for England and Wales should monitor the impact, and ensure councils are not compromised in their duty to protect children at significant risk.

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Mike Broad

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