There is no doubt that the direction of travel set in train by the Family Justice Review and the Children and Families Bill is not readily reversible (Broadhurst et al., 2013). This shifts the burden of parenting assessment to the administrative space of pre-court social work (Holt et al., 2013). Increasingly, flexibility is being introduced within the formal pre-proceedings stage where parents have been put on notice of the local authority’s intention to issue care proceedings. The pre-proceedings stage may be the most appropriate location to build in flexibility, but this is not without consequences as it may result in delay being introduced at an earlier stage without judicial oversight and scrutiny (Holt et al., 2013).
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