Children Act 1989 – Amendments

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Since the Children and Families Act 2014 was brought into force for the most part in April earlier this year, we have been awaiting the commencement of certain important provisions.


We now know that s.11 CFA 2014 will be brought into force next Wednesday 22nd October 2014.


This inserts into s.1 Children Act 1989 the well-publicised sections relating to the “presumption of parental involvement”.


The amendments will only apply to proceedings commenced after 22nd October 2014: proceedings commenced before this date, but not yet concluded will not fall under the ambit of the new provisions.


The relevant amendments are as follows:


11Welfare of the child: parental involvement

(1)Section 1 of the Children Act 1989 (welfare of the child) is amended as follows.

(2)After subsection (2) insert—

(2A)A court, in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (4)(a) or (7), is as respects each parent within subsection (6)(a) to presume, unless the contrary is shown, that involvement of that parent in the life of the child concerned will further the child’s welfare.

(2B)In subsection (2A) “involvement” means involvement of some kind, either direct or indirect, but not any particular division of a child’s time.

(3)After subsection (5) insert—

(6)In subsection (2A) “parent” means parent of the child concerned; and, for the purposes of that subsection, a parent of the child concerned—

(a)is within this paragraph if that parent can be involved in the child’s life in a way that does not put the child at risk of suffering harm; and

(b)is to be treated as being within paragraph (a) unless there is some evidence before the court in the particular proceedings to suggest that involvement of that parent in the child’s life would put the child at risk of suffering harm whatever the form of the involvement.

(7)The circumstances referred to are that the court is considering whether to make an order under section 4(1)(c) or (2A) or 4ZA(1)(c) or (5) (parental responsibility of parent other than mother).