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Child Care Hearings

Volume 80: debated on Thursday 13 June 1985

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Field asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the average length of delay of child care hearings involving a guardian ad litem in the year to May 1984 and for the period since May 1984;(2) if he will make available details of the total number of guardians ad litem appointed for child care cases since May 1984 and the regional variation in such appointments.

Information is not held centrally on the numbers of guardians ad litem in child care cases nor on the duration of hearings in which they are involved. The Department commissioned preliminary research from Bristol university into how the new guardian ad litem arrangements were working in practice. The results of the research suggested that the arrangements had made a reasonable start. There were indications of diversity from court to court in the rates of appointing guardians ad litem and of more measured consideration of complex cases involving guardians. However, Bristol is now undertaking a more comprehensive study on representation of the child which will help ascertain how well the arrangements are working in the longer term.