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  • Assessment of Parents within Care Proceedings
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Assessment of Parents within Care Proceedings

FROM £55.00

This new title considers the law and practice in relation to applications made within care proceedings for the assessment of children and families.

This new title considers the law and practice in relation to applications made within care proceedings for the assessment of children and families. The main focus is on applications for orders pursuant to Children Act 1989, s 38(6) but other types of assessment are also examined.

 The book offers a practical guide to the making and opposing of assessment applications. It includes advice on the preparation and case management of such applications and a detailed and authoritative account of current guidance from the appellate courts on the circumstances in which assessments can/not be ordered. A separate chapter deals with the issue of the funding of such assessments, with particular reference to the position of the Legal Services Commission in respect of payment for assessments out of public funds.

 In order to provide an essential context to the current state of law and practice, the book also includes discussion of the legislative and judicial history of s 38(6) and the policy considerations that lie behind the decision to allow assessments to take place, emphasising the tension between the wish of parents to have a fair assessment of their capacity to care for their children, set against the imperative need of children for the earliest possible decisions about their future.

 Assessment of Parents within Care Proceedings is an invaluable guide to this topic for all child law practitioners including barristers, solicitors, local authorities and social workers.
  • The Place of Assessment of Parents within Care Proceedings
  • The Making of a Jurisdiction
  • Assessments of Parents and Children: The Uses, and Limits, of section 38(6)
  • The New Legal Landscape
  • Making the Application for an Assessment of a Parent in Care Proceedings
  • Assessments of Parents in Care Proceedings [Otherwise than by way of Residential Assessment]
  • Funding of Assessments of Parents
  • Appendices
"This is a new title from Jordan Publishing’s Family Law imprint and as such, is a detailed guide to this especially difficult area of the law.

The germ of the idea for producing this book emerged from a conversation between its two authors, Gemma Farrington and Simon Johnson while they were waiting for their case to be called on. It was a case involving care proceedings which required an application for a direction that an assessment of the couple should be made by an independent social worker.

You can infer from this and correctly that both authors, experienced barristers, have had considerable experience in dealing with such cases, arguing either for or against the making of such directions. Their practical experience incorporated in this book will be of immense help to practitioners dealing with this area of law.
The stated aim of the book is to provide practical help to lawyers and other professionals dealing with childcare proceedings and with the assessment of parents. The book focuses on applications for orders pursuant to Children Act 1989 s 38(6), although other types of assessment are also discussed.

The authors offer up the quite startling statistic that in 2011 -- a typical year -- applications for care orders were made that involved 29,492 children, adding the assertion by the state that each of these children was ‘suffering, or… likely to suffer, significant harm’.

The addition of this book to the legal literature is timely in that it offers a practical guide to the making and opposing of assessment applications. It gives advice on how to prepare and manage a case involving such applications and provides an authoritative account of current guidance from the appellate courts on the circumstances in which assessments can or cannot be ordered.

Family lawyers in particular will appreciate this clear, detailed and thorough overview of procedures and practice in this especially sensitive area of the law."
Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

Watch the review


"This is a straightforward and helpful guide for those who act for parents in care proceedings. Successful requests for such assessments are becoming increasingly difficult in care proceedings and face close judicial scrutiny. Any advocate addressing the court on behalf of a parent, or anyone preparing such an application would be well armed having read this book. Even those who are experienced at making such applications, would benefit from having their memory refreshed by the journey through the legal landscape to where we now find ourselves.

This is a practical guide not an academic text, which will assist the reader in making sure they have properly prepared and considered any application they are making. The relevant source material is easily at hand and referred to in the text and the case law is succinctly considered throughout. This would be a helpful addition to any care practitioners book shelf."
Rebecca Mitchell, Barrister, 1 Garden Court Family Law Chambers 



"A practice guide for lawyers, providing a comprehensive journey  through the development of assessments under s38(6) Children Act 1989 …This book proved initially ‘heavy’ on the legal side but digresses to provide valuable and up-to-date information for guardians, ISWs and local authorities about the changes that are now happening, what constitutes an adequate assessment and how the writers of assessments maybe challenged in court". 
Read more

Suzette Waterhouse, Independent social worker, researchers and reviewer
Seen and Heard Vol 25. Issue 1.




This book has its origin in a conversation between the authors whilst waiting for their case to be called on. On that occasion they were representing the parents in care proceedings and were about to make an application for a direction that there be an assessment of the couple by an independent social worker. Both authors have had many years experience of arguing for and against the making of such directions and had followed with interest the developing case law on the subject. The conversation turned to the scope for a detailed guide to this area of law and this book is the result.

 Its aim is to provide practical help to lawyers and others dealing with issues relating to assessment of parents but it starts by seeking to put the issues that arise in context by looking at the wider background to child care proceedings and the assessment of parents within them. It also looks in some detail at the extensive and fascinating case law on the courts jurisdiction to regulate assessments that involve children under s 38(6) of the Children Act 1989. These topics are covered in the first three chapters, written by Simon Johnson.
 The remaining chapters of the book are by Gemma Farrington. Chapter 4 gives an account of The New Legal Landscape introduced by recently introduced and pending reforms to the family justice system. Chapters 5 and 7 set out a procedural guide to the making of applications for assessment and the all important question of funding. Chapter 6 discusses the wide variety of assessments of parents that may need to be considered in the course of care proceedings.

 Although they have each taken responsibility of individual chapters this is a joint work in which each author has contributed ideas and comments. One subject upon which the authors speak with one voice is that of the importance of the subject under discussion. The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal have only recently re-emphasised the gravity of the decisions that face courts when dealing with child care cases.

 In making these decisions the courts need to act on reliable evidence; not least as to the actual or potential capacity of troubled parents to meet their children’s needs. Assessments of parents are intended to provide such evidence and remain a crucial element in the court process for care proceedings.

 The law is stated as at 31 January 2014.

 Simon Johnson and Gemma Farrington,
   January 2014

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