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DfE sets out key features of Children and Families Bill

Bill should be introduced in early 2013

The Department for Education has set out the key features of the Children and Families Bill announced in the Queen's Speech. The Bill is expected to be introduced early in 2013.

The main elements of the forthcoming Bill include:

Family Law
The key measures are:

It follows the Government's response in February 2012 to the final report of the independent Family Justice Review published in November 2011.

Adoption
The key measure is:  

The proposal was set out in the Adoption Action Plan published in March 2012 – part of wider reforms to speed up and overhaul the system for prospective adoptive parents and children.

Shared Parenting
Ministers intend to strengthen the law to ensure children have a relationship with both their parents after family separation, where that is safe and in the child's best interests.

The Government believes that this will encourage more separated parents to resolve their disputes out of court and agree care arrangements that fully involve both parents.

The Government will consult shortly on how the legislation can be framed to ensure that a meaningful relationship is not about an equal division of time but the quality of time that a child spends with each parent.

This was announced as part of the Government's response to the independent Family Justice Review in February 2012. The review published its final report in November 2011.

Office of the Children's Commissioner
The key measures are:

Special Education Needs
The key measures are: