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The impacts of abuse and neglect on children; and comparison of different placement options

Evidence review

In recent years the government has introduced a number of policy papers aimed at transforming the children's social care system. Much of this reform began in 2000 with the publication of Adoption: A new approach. More recently, major changes have been introduced through the Family Justice Review; the subsequent Children and Families Act 2014, including the revised Public Law Outline (PLO) and the 26-week timeframe for completing care proceedings; and the recent publication of Putting Children First.

When the Family Justice Review was launched in 2011, the average duration for the disposal of a care and supervision application was 56 weeks. The revised PLO was phased in between July and October 2013 following a year-long pilot in the tri-borough authorities in London. Since then there has been a significant reduction in the duration of care proceedings with the average (at the time of writing) being around 27 weeks. There is some recent evidence to suggest that this has been achieved without delay being moved to the pre- or post-court period, although this finding needs to be considered in the context of how cases are being managed by local authorities before formal proceedings are issued or during the pre-proceedings stage of the PLO.