Part I Children Act 1989 starts from the premise that the welfare of children is paramount and cases should only come to court where no other alternative is available. Implicit within the Act is the notion that early intervention can prevent longer-term impact on children’s development and reduce the likelihood of children being removed from the care of their parents. Part III Children Act 1989 instituted the concept of children in need and made provision for their support at local authority level. This chapter discusses the evolving nature of the concept of children in need and also examines how local authorities might and do interpret their duties towards children in need in their area. The difficulties and challenges in assessing and providing support to children in need are discussed drawing on recent research, on case-specific examination, and issues related to quality in assessment practice.
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