from oct 1 amendments to s16 of Children Act 1989 (re: Family Assistance Orders) come into force, and the court will be able to make a family assistance order for up to 12 months duration, and the old requirement that there must be exceptional circumstances for such an order to be made is repealed. This is good – these orders were rarely ever made, and if they were they were often of little use as by the time the local authority got off their bottoms the order had expired. I imagine the restricted powers were intended to ensure that local authorities and CAFCASS were not overburdened – but given that the requirement for all parties named to consent to the order remains, I don’t foresee any problems. They can always say no. And no doubt will have no qualms about doing so if they don’t fancy the work.
Also on 1 October (amongst other things) a new s6A Children Act 1989 will be in force providing a requirement for CAFCASS reporters to conduct a risk assessment for submission to the court where they think a child may be at risk of harm.