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Get in on the Act: Children and Social Work Act 2017

The Children and Social Work Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 19 May 2016, completed its parliamentary stages on 4 April 2017 and received Royal Assent, becoming law on 27 April 2017.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 (the Act) is intended to improve support for looked after children and care leavers, promote the welfare and safeguarding of children, and make provisions about the regulation of social workers. The Act sets out corporate parenting principles for the council as a whole to be the best parent it can be to children in its care. These are largely a collation of existing duties local authorities have towards looked after children and those leaving care. Local authorities will be required to publish their support offer to care leavers and to promote the educational attainment of children who have been adopted or placed in other longterm arrangements. The legislation extends the current considerations of the court when making decisions about the longterm placement of children to include an assessment of current and future needs and of any relationship with the prospective adopter.

The Act makes changes to the arrangements for local child safeguarding partnerships and the serious case review process, including provision for a central Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel for cases of national importance. It also establishes a new regulatory regime for the social work profession.

The Act is made up of three parts as follows:

1. Children
2. Social workers in England
3. General

This publication aims to provide readers with an introduction to the Act and summarises the main issues on which the LGA campaigned.