The Child's Legal Journey through Care

The Child's Legal Journey through Care


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For those working with or caring for looked after children, understanding how they may move through the Children Act proceedings, care system and associated legislation is vital – but also very complex. This innovative guide demystifies the law by explaining its application to children’s rights, children’s possible routes through care, and the legal stages of Children Act proceedings, Written in a clear and simple manner, it sets out what practitioners should do to achieve the best outcomes for children while fulfilling what the law requires.

The guide illustrates the practical application of legislation through case studies, the author’s case experience, and reported case law.


Who is this book for?

A key companion for those working with or caring for children, including social care practitioners, students, foster carers, adopters, CAFCASS officers, youth workers, teachers, and members of the legal profession.

What you will find in this book

This guide covers:

  • The domestic and international legal framework relating to children
  • The child’s voice versus parental rights, and the importance of ascertaining children’s wishes and feelings
  • Details of legal principles and terms, including parental responsibility
  • Private law proceedings, legal aid and child arrangements orders
  • Public law proceedings, emergency protection orders and application of the Public Law Outline in care proceedings
  • Local authority responsibilities for looked after children, voluntary arrangements and working in partnership with families
  • Leaving care, Staying Put, pathway plans and personal advisers

About the author

Shefali Shah qualified as a solicitor in 1995, and has been continuously practising since, with over 25 years’ experience in child law, the majority of it as a local authority solicitor and manager. Shefali has been a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel accreditation scheme since 2003. She is a legal adviser to an independent adoption agency and was formerly the legal adviser to Adoption UK and to the Independent Review Mechanism for England. Shefali is also a national trainer and has taught child law academically at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Through the platform of Kingsley Knight Training, she has also developed extensive training courses on child and social care law.