The 1989 Children Act in England and Wales and the derivative 1995 Children (NI) Order in Northern Ireland provide the legislative framework within which issues pertaining to the care and supervision of children that come before the Courts are examined. Both pieces of legislation were intended to address a number of problems with the way that such issues were dealt with by the Court, particularly the tendency for proceedings to become protracted and for children to ‘drift’ in care as a consequence. The imposition of the ‘No Delay’ principle in both jurisdictions was designed specifically to address these concerns. However, since the introduction of both the 1989 Children Act (implemented in October 1991) and the 1995 Children (NI) Order (implemented in November 1996), there has been a steady increase in the average duration of proceedings and concerns remain about the impact that this may be having upon the children involved. This paper presents the findings of a research study (McSherry et al., 2004) that explored the complex relationship between the duration of care proceedings and costs to children in terms of the likelihood of achieving permanency.
Mc Sherry, D., Larkin, E., & Iwaniec, D. (2006). Care proceedings: Exploring the relationship between case duration and achieving permanency for the child. British Journal of Social Work, 36(6)(6), 901-919. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch362