The new Children and Families Act 2014 gained royal accent in March 2014 and will start to be implemented over the coming months. This new Act will give greater protection to vulnerable children, better support for children whose parents are separating, a new system to help children with SEN and disabilities, and help for parents to balance work and family life. New measures include:

  • children in care to have the choice to stay with their foster families until they turn 21
  • a new legal duty on schools to support children with medical conditions better
  • young carers’ and parent carers’ rights to support from councils much clearer
  •  reforms to children’s residential care to make sure homes are safe and secure, and to improve the quality of care
  • all state-funded schools, including academies, required to provide free school lunches on request for all pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2
  • amendments to the law to protect children in cars from second-hand smoke