The Children and Families Bill takes forward the Coalition Government’s commitments to improve services for vulnerable children and support strong families. It underpins wider reforms to ensure that all children and young people can succeed, no matter what their background. The Bill will reform the systems for adoption, looked after children, family justice and special educational needs.

The Government is transforming the system for children and young people with special educational needs & disabilities (SEND), including those who are disabled so that services consistently support the best outcomes for them. The Bill will extend the SEND system from birth to 25, giving children, young people and their parents/carers greater control and choice in decisions and ensuring needs are properly met.

It takes forward the reform programme set out in Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability: Progress and next steps by:

  • Replacing statements and learning difficulty assessments with a new birth- to-25 Education, Health and Care Plan, extending rights and protections to young people in further education and training and offering families personal budgets so that they have more control over the support they need.
  • Improving cooperation between all the services that support children and their families and particularly requiring local authorities and health authorities to work together.
  • Requiring local authorities to involve children, young people and parents in reviewing and developing provision for those with special educational needs and to publish a ‘local offer’ of support.