Children and Families Bill
Fourteen years ago, I gave birth to a very premature baby boy, with brain damage. It was no-one's fault, just one of those things. It has been a difficult journey, watching him grow up and not learn to walk or talk. We have got through it with love, and with joy at his survival, his courage, and the things he can do. Far bleaker than his disabilities, has been finding that we have to battle for almost everything he needs...
The British Heart Foundation and a host of charities and organisations, concerned about the health implications of smoking, want to see cigarettes across the UK wrapped in standardised packs as soon as possible. And the British Heart Foundation's new poll reveals eight in 10 teenagers agree.
Who remembers sex education at school? I do (it is permanently etched onto my frontal lobe). We were given a book in year eight with a well-thumbed page showing a cross section of sexual intercourse which looked more like a ham sandwich with legs than the beautiful act of love.
The Children and Families Bill reaches its report stage in Parliament next week. And with it comes the rare opportunity to make a real and lasting difference for young people in care in England, who too often find themselves having to live alone and with very little support by the time they reach 18.
The UK government is pushing ahead full steam with Clause 1 of the Children and Families Bill. If implemented it could result in some children being placed with potential adopters despite there having been no court proceedings, no court decision that the child should be permanently removed from their parents and no legal advice given to the parents.
According to the plans, set out in the Children and Families Bill, parents will be able to share their combined parental leave between them, either by taking it in turns or taking time off together, up to a total of 52 weeks.
Public money is needed in developing early intervention. It is predicated on saving money in the longer term. It needs to be made now.
In these difficult times protecting and promoting the well-being of the most vulnerable children in society must be our absolute priority, now more than ever. The introduction of the Children and Families Bill couldn't have come at a better time - it is an eagerly awaited piece of legislation which is long overdue.
Fathers look set to be given additional rights to see their children after family break-up or divorce, as long as it is in