The Queen's Speech: As anticipated
Considering that it was heralded as having a family-friendly agenda, the Queen did not say that much about families in her Speech to Parliament today. This is what she said:
"My Government will strive to improve the lives of children and families.I understand, however, that these measures will be contained in a new Children and Families Bill. I also understand that the following matters of note (but no surprise) to family lawyers are on the agenda:
My Government will propose measures to improve provision for disabled children and children with special educational needs. New arrangements will be proposed to support children involved in family law cases, reform court processes for children in care and strengthen the role of the Children’s Commissioner.
Measures will be proposed to make parental leave more flexible so both parents may share parenting responsibilities and balance work and family commitments."
- A speeding-up of the adoption process, particularly for ethnic minority children;
- Reforms to the family justice system to speed up care proceedings so no cases take more than six months; and
- A consultation on legal options to strengthen the law to ensure that, "where it is safe and in the child's best interests", both parents are able to have a relationship with their children after they separate.
As anticipated, the Queen's Speech did not include a Bill to introduce gay marriage.
* * *
UPDATE: You can find details of the Bill in this DfE press notice.