6 Key principles and concepts
The Children’s Act 1989, the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 form the basis of public and private law relating to the care and welfare of children in the UK. This legislation aims to strike a balance between the rights of children, the responsibilities of both parents to the child and the duty of the state to intervene when the child’s welfare requires it (Department for Education, 2014). The overriding objective of all three pieces of legislation is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children – the child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration. When working with children and families, it is imperative to have consideration for the principles that underpin this legislation, as they represent best practice. These core underpinning principles will be discussed in more detail throughout this section.