The Welfare Checklist
The starting point for the court in any cases about children is Section 1 of the Children Act 1989. It says that the child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration and it must have regard to the welfare checklist which says:
Among the things the court must consider are:
- The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in light of their age and understanding);
- Their physical, emotional and educational needs;
- The likely effect on them of any change in their circumstances;
- Their age, sex, background and any characteristics of theirs which the court considers relevant;
- Any harm which they have suffered or is at risk of suffering;
- How capable each of their parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting their needs; and
- The range of powers available to the court under the Children Act 1989 in the proceedings in question.
It says that delay is prejudicial to a child but the courts are completely ignoring that at the moment.
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