The Children Act 1989
Almost all of the Children Act 1989 applies in Wales as well as England. However, the only freely available online version of the Act is in the UK legislation website and this is not completely up to date.
- The 1989 Act available on the UK legislation site has not been edited to update it with changes in the Children and Families Act 2014. These are explained in this summary.
- Until April 2016, there are some sections, 22 and 23, about looked-after children in the online version of the Act which are different in Wales and England, but only the law in England is shown on the UK Legislation website. This table sets out the differences between the law in England and Wales prior to April.
- From April 2016, Part III Children Act 1989 no longer applies in Wales. It is replaced by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014)
The Children Act 1989 is divided into Parts: Part 1 covers general principles; Part II covers private law; Part III children in need and looked-after children [but not in Wales]; Part IV care orders; Part V child protection.
Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014
This Act provides for the assessment of the care and support needs of adults and children, including carers, who may require a service to achieve their wellbeing outcomes. A briefing by Luke Clements on the Act can be downloaded here.
Other Acts that relate to social care in Wales
- The Adoption and Children Act 2002
This is the law about adoption of children. There are some differences between sections of this Act in Wales and England.
- Care Standards Act 2000
Established regulatory bodies for social care in England and Wales, and provisions for registration and standards in social care work and training.
Provisions for children’s social care in the following five Acts were replaced by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 in April 2016:
- Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995
Under this Act, the needs of carers to be taken into account in assessments.
- Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004
Assessments to take into account carers’ rights to work etc.
- Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000
Services for carers.
- Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970
This is the basis of local authority duties toward adults and children with disability.
- Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986
This strengthens the local authority’s duty to assess people with disabilities.
- Equality Act 2010
Consolidates all anti-discrimination legislation, including Age; Disability; Gender reassignment; Marriage and civil partnership; race; Religion or belief; Sex; and Sexual orientation.
- Mental Capacity Act 2005
The law about adults and 16 and 17 year olds who lack the understanding to make decisions. Mental capacity law is explained here.
- Mental Health Act 1983
The law about the admission to hospital and treatment for mental disorder. This Act applies to individuals of any age.
- NHS (Wales) Act 2006
The Welsh Government’s duties regarding health services.
- Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005
Redress for maladministration (the wrong actions) by public authorities.
The Additional Educational Needs and Education Tribunals Act 2018, which changes the law about special education, is due to come into force in September 2019.
Measures passed by The National Assembly For Wales
- Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010
This has the same status as an ‘Act’. It is about support for people (of whatever age) with mental health problems.
- Rights of Children’s and Young Peoples’ Measure 2011
This has the same status as an ‘Act’. It has placed a duty on the Welsh Government to have due regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child when it makes policies.
This Welsh Government website – Law Wales – is designed to explain the areas of law that are now devolved and therefore the responsibility of the Welsh Government. These include health, education, and socal care, but not the court system.