The Children Act 1989 (Children Act) introduced major reforms of child-care law. It encourages negotiation and cooperation between parents, children and professionals to resolve problems aﬀecting children. The aim is to enable children to stay within their own families with appropriate back-up from local-authority and professional resources. The emphasis is on empowering families rather than paternalistic control. The Act set up a court made up of three tiers – the High Court, county court and magistrates’ court – each with concurrent jurisdiction. The Act has been broadened, clariﬁed and interpreted by subsidiary legislation, rules, case law and oﬃcial guidance. An equivalent act is in force in Scotland.
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