Between 1 March and 9 November 2007, my Department received seven representations on the removal of residential assessments from the scope of legal aid. The Legal Services Commission (LSC), who published a consultation on the subject, “The Funding Criteria for Child Care Proceedings”, received 44 responses.
The Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) (formerly the Department for Education and Skills) consulted on revised draft guidance, “The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 1 Court Orders”. This places an increased emphasis on preparation by local authorities prior to launching proceedings, ensuring that applications are made only after kinship placement options for the child have been explored. 29 responses were received to this consultation, which are now being considered. The DCSF has also published “Care Matters: Time for Change”, which sets out the Government’s intention to legislate to enable carers who are relatives to apply for residence orders in circumstances where a child has been living with them for a continuous period of at least one year.