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Family Proceedings

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent assessment he has made of the likely effects on the welfare of children of the provisions in the Children, Schools and Families Bill on family court proceedings. (312932)

Protecting the welfare of children is our paramount concern. In developing the proposals for the Bill, officials met and sought the views of various stakeholders including 11 Million, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and the Association of Lawyers for Children. My hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, East (Bridget Prentice) also met the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service/National Youth Advocacy Service Young People’s Board to seek their views on proposals in the Bill.

The proposals in the Bill are carefully drafted in response to this stakeholder feedback to ensure that children’s welfare is protected and sensitive personal information remains confidential. In addition, the measures in the Bill propose to strengthen the current position and give indefinite anonymity to children involved in family proceedings.

The current proposals before Parliament make clear that it is only possible to alter the treatment of sensitive personal information once an independent review of the operation of the provisions has been carried out, including their impact on the welfare of children.