Appropriate use of Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 UK
‘A person’s a person, no matter how small.’
The right to make decisions about a child is the responsibility of those who hold parental responsibility.
However, Social services may take a number of steps to protect your child in an emergency.
Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 in the United Kingdom sets out the circumstances under which a local authority (such as a council or housing association) may provide accommodation for a child in need. The provision of accommodation under Section 20 is voluntary, and the child’s parent or guardian must give their consent.
The appropriate use of Section 20 is when a child is considered to be a “child in need” as defined by the Act, which includes children who are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm; children who are disabled; and children whose needs are not being met by their parents or carers.
In such cases, the local authority may provide accommodation for the child, either in a foster home or a children’s home, if it is considered to be in the child’s best interests. The accommodation is intended to be a temporary measure while the local authority works to resolve the issues that have led to the child being taken into care.
It is important to note that the use of Section 20 should be a last resort and only used when the child’s safety and well-being cannot be adequately protected in any other way. The local authority must also consider the child’s views and the views of their parents or carers before making a decision to accommodate the child under Section 20.
It is also important to note that the use of Section 20 should be in line with the child’s best interest principle. And the child should be placed in a suitable and safe environment.
Section 20 – ‘Voluntary Accommodation’
Section 20 Children Act 1989 is established to enhance the power of local government to facilitate the child without the consent of family court. The section 20, Act 1989 has been introduced due to some specific reasons such as the child who is minor and his/her parents are deceased, the child that do not have shelter to spend life, the child that parents went abroad and did not come, the child that parents are not willing to adopt him/her, and the child guardian is not caring to him/her.
Under Section 20 Children Act 1989, the local government is responsible to facilitate a child when he/her don’t have shelter to live. This is also the responsibility of local government to provide accommodation that child in residential buildings, kids care centers, nurture home or with a family. The kid is accommodated with your permission or the permission of another with parental accountability.
The mother and father both of the child retain parental responsibility. The parent or guardian of the child can give up the permission at any time. When the approval has been gave up then it is the responsibility of local government to return the kid on emergency basis, however, if the Local government feel the kid would be at unsafe on living place back with the parent/guardian they may issue care proceedings.
Here at Eric international law, we would advise that you seek legal advice urgently regarding section 20.
Emergency Protection Order
These are commonly referred to as an EPO.
If the Local government believe a kid to be in instant risk, they have authority to request the court to make an EPO. This provide the local government parental obligation to allow it to make certain decisions for a child, for example, to be compensate in other place or to stay in safe custody.
Under Section 44 Children Act 1989, the local government or body have right to appeal in family court for an EPO where:
(1) Where the concerned party submit an application in the court for the custody of a child. In this situation the family court has right to make orders in the following conditions;
(a) there is strong evidence which provide a clear image of critical situation such as the kid may suffer from harmful situation.
(i) the child is not eliminated to live in a place which is facilitated his custodian or behalf of the custodian.
(ii) the child is not satisfied to live in the place where is has been allowed to stay
(2) Section 47 justify that Enquiries can cause to promote anxiety and depression due to unreasonable rejection to approach the kids and local government has justification to satisfy the court for the access to the kids also they have ground realities to provide solid reasons that could be presented on emergency basis.
Subject to certain exceptions, an EPO can last up to eight days, but the local government can request the court to extend this for up to seven more days if they feel it is necessary.
Applications are usually made on short notice due to the nature of the order and the emergency circumstances.
An Emergency Protection Order is a critical matter and the family Court must be agreed that the EPO is essential and proportionate.
Here at Eric law international, we would advise that you seek legal advice urgently when learning of the EPO.
Police Protection Order PPO
A PPO is a legal and quick response which is implemented when a kid is supposed to be in a dangerous situation.
This is an emergency situation; no court order is required.
Under s46 Children Act 1989:
(1) Where a police officer provides meaningful evidence in which they could justify that Kid is not in protective custody which may cause to lead a danger for his/her life, he may
(a) facilitate the child in safe custody where there is not risk of life; or
(b) taking such initiative that could ensure the safety of life of child and their transfer from dangerous place to safe place.
A PPO last for 72 hours and enables the concerned authorities to eliminate a child form the care of their parent/guardian and be placed in alternative accommodation. In this 72 hours, the Local Authority will decide whether to issue care proceedings.
Here at Eric law international, we would advise that you seek legal advice urgently when a Police Protection Order has been issued.
At ELI we can provide you with legal advice, support and assistance regarding Social Service involvement.
If you are eligible we may be able to advise you for free under the Legal Help scheme.
Our team are specialists in Public Law and will treat your matter with trust, empathy and expertise.
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