Partnership between the state and parents is now on the official child-care agenda. It forms one of the key principles of the Children Act 1989 and is reasserted in the various official documents which accompany it. Working Together begins with a section about partnership saying:
Agencies should ensure that staff who are concerned with the protec-
tion of children from abuse understand that this assumption in the Act
of a high degree of co-operation between parents and local authorities
requires a concerted approach to inter-disciplinary and inter-agency
working. (DoH, 1991b, para. 1.8; italics added)
Volume 2 of the Art's Guidance and Regulations (DoH, 1991c) concerned with Family Support, Day Care and Educational Provision has a section entitled 'Partnership or Compulsion' which indicates that voluntary services are to be considered before children are removed from their families. Volume 3 on Family Placements early on sets out principles of partnership and participation and refers to the need to involve parents and children in decisionmaking processes, give them explanations of the local authority's powers and duties and actions it may need to take, and consult them before decisions are made about a child 'who is about to be or is already being looked after by a local authority' (para. 2.10). Further parts of the Act and its attendants refer to greater involvements for parents in case reviews and in case conferences as well as written information for parents arising from such situations.
Partnership is given less prominence in Volume 1 of the Guidance and Regulations dealing with Court Orders, in contrast to the other volumes. It is most clearly addressed in the section on Child Assessment Orders and their