Luke Clements

Luke Clements is the Cerebra Professor of Law at Leeds University and is a solicitor.

Children in need: an overview


Dr Julie Doughty has written a detailed analysis of the 2014 Act’s provisions as they relate to Looked After Children and this is published in the Rhydian on-line Journal volume 1 pp. 8-19 and can be accessed by clicking here.
What follows is a briefing overview by Luke Clements ~ updated September 2017.  For corrections or suggested additions please contact
Two excellent resources are:
  1. ‘Children’s Social Care law in Wales’ can be accessed by clicking here.
  2. The Cerebra Guide to Social care rights of disabled children – can be accessed by clicking here.
Important research concerning the factors that promote successful adoption in Wales (the Wales Adoption Cohort Study) can be accessed by clicking here.


Part 6 of the Act (sections 74 – 125) largely re-enacted the provisions in Part 3 of the Children Act 1989 relating to ‘looked after and accommodated children’ – including independent reviewing officers, the Children Leaving Care provisions, secure accommodation etc. The principal regulations are The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015 and the principal guidance is contained in the Part 6 Code of Practice (Looked After and Accommodated Children).  This briefing does not cover the detail of this aspect of the Act.  A review of the relevant law can be found at the Children’s social care law in Wales website.

Concern has been expressed about the likely impact of Part 6.  In essence it repeals Part 3 of the Children Act 1989 and in so doing abolishes familiar concepts such as ‘children in need’.  Commenting on this reform the (then) Children’s Commissioner for Wales expressed deep concern that the reformed Act did not recognise ‘the distinct circumstances of children and young people’.  Referring to the stated intention of the Welsh Government that the Act would ‘as far as is possible, integrate and align arrangements so that there is a common set of processes, for people’ the Commissioner said that he failed to understand ‘how the replacement or restatement of parts of existing legislation relating to children will give greater effect to the best interests of the child.’[i]

Concern has also been expressed about the Act’s conflation of the ‘well-being’ principle with Children Act concept of ‘welfare’ – and in this respect see – Dr Julie Doughty How do you define a child’s ‘welfare’ as opposed to ‘wellbeing’? (Community Care 2016).

[i] Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Annual Report 2014, Policy and Public Affairs.