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NEW GUIDANCE HERALDS IMPLEMENTATION OF CHILDREN ACT

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A guidance package on the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 aimed at all those working in the child care field has been ...
A guidance package on the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 aimed at all those working in the child care field has been announced by James Douglas-Hamilton, minister with responsibility for child care at The Scottish Office.

Full implementation of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 will take place on April 1, 1997.

The package consists of three volumes of guidance on the Act covering:

-- Support and Protection for Children and their Families

-- Children Looked After by Local Authorities

-- Adoption and Parental Responsibilities Orders

Lord James said:

'The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 is one of the most significant milestones in legislation for children and their families in Scotland. It enshrines in legislation our belief that the interests of children in Scotland must come first.

This guidance provides advice on how social work professionals, and the many other professional groups and voluntary organisations working in the child care field will give effect to the provisions in the Act.

I am certain that it will be warmly welcomed and will build the necessary foundations in good practice and knowledge ahead of full implementation of the Act.'

The main features of the new provisions coming into force in April are:

-- enhanced social welfare responsibilities on local authorities for children they look after

-- a new duty on local authorities to make and publish plans for children's services

-- the duty of local authorities to assess needs of children and disabilities or affected by disabilities in the family

-- the extension of local authorities' duty to provide aftercare for young people by one year to include 18 year olds, and a new power to assist 19 year olds to 21 year olds

-- provision for the establishment of short-term refuges for children

-- new measures for the protection of children (through child assessment orders, child protection orders and exclusion orders)

-- new court-based order for transfer of parental responsibilities to local authorities

-- improvements to the operation of children's hearings.

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