More help for families to be unveiled in Queen’s Speech

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

Parents will be able to take more flexible leave to care for their children under family-friendly laws to be unveiled in Queen’s Speech.

Mothers will be able to return to work earlier and transfer their maternity leave to their partners under moves to help both parents share the burden of child care.

The Coalition is also looking to offer more opportunities for flexible working which parents can request throughout their son or daughter’s childhood.

A new Children and Families Bill will be one of the major pieces of legislation for the next year to be announced in the Queen’s Speech at the state opening of Parliament.

The Measures in the Bill will include:

• Legal requirements to ensure that most children will have a relationship with their father if their parents divorce. Judges will have to ensure children enjoy a “meaningful” relationship with their father if possible.

• Tighter controls on music videos and computer games to stop unsuitable material being seen by children as part of new laws to enact recommendations from an official review of child sexualisation.

• A speeding-up of the adoption process, particularly for ethnic minority children. Councils will have to prioritise cutting the time to find parents for children ahead of considering their ethnicity. The family justice system will also be reformed so that cases involving children being placed into care must be completed within six months.

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