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Reforming care proceedings for children

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Meg Munn MP was interviewed this morning on the BBC’s ‘Women’s Hour’ programme about government’s proposals to reform care proceedings for children. Meg is chair of the Child Protection All–Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) who have recently issued a report on the issue – ‘Making care proceedings better for children’.


She outlined the common feeling of young people that court proceedings are being done “to them rather than for them”. The APPG report tackles this by recommending that judges should meet with the young people involved ahead of court proceedings, as well as being a consistent presence throughout the process. These young people are often more mature and able to deal with situations than is realised because of what they have been through.


Also included on the radio programme was Amy O’Donohoe, a care-experienced young person working with the Who Cares Trust, and Debbie Jones, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services. Amy talked about her 4 year court experiences and how there is not enough support for young people in the care system. She would have preferred to get her point of view across in court and meet the people deciding what would happen. Debbie Jones agreed with Meg about this and added that the system has unintentionally steered away from the perspective of young people, and that there is no excuse for this. 


Meg commented:


“Time is an important issue here and bureaucratic delays are very unhelpful. However, sticking to a rigid 26 week time limit for care proceedings to be completed is not, in all cases, in the best interests of the child. For example, I have heard from young people who have suffered with time restraints because court hearings have taken place during their exams.”


On Monday 25th February the Children and Families Bill containing the government’s proposals will have its second reading and MPs will debate these issues. The Child Protection APPG’s recent report ‘Making care proceedings better for children’ can be viewed at: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/policyandpublicaffairs/consultations/responses2011_wda80476.html


The interview is on BBC Radio 4 iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search?q=women’s%20hour


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