Sometimes parents are unable to care for their children either permanently or temporarily – and in such cases, parents may approach Social Services to accommodate children.
Under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989, local authorities have a legal obligation to provide accommodation in certain circumstances, including:
In such cases, Social Services can step in and accommodate a child either in a residential care home or with foster parents.
A child’s parents or those with Parental Responsibility for a child must first give Social Services permission to arrange accommodation for their child.
Parents will retain Parental Responsibility once their child has been found accommodation by the local authority.
Parents have the right to ask for their child to be returned – but in some circumstances Social Services might not comply with this request or might delay taking action to return a child to their parents.
In these cases, disputes can easily arise over the care arrangements for a child who has been given accommodation under Section 20 – as well as any contact parents have with their child once they have been placed in accommodation or with a foster family.
In some cases, local authorities may even consider putting children who have been voluntarily accommodated up for adoption.
It is advisable for parents considering asking the local authority to take their child into voluntary care to take legal advice before doing so – and also to contact Duncan Lewis children lawyers immediately if an issue arises once a child has been accommodated by Social Services.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers have acknowledged expertise in child care matters – including the issues around children taken into local authority care and children voluntarily accommodated.
Duncan Lewis is ranked by the Legal 500 2014 for its Family & Matrimonial work – and the Duncan Lewis team includes Advanced Members of the Law Society’s Family Panel, and members of the Law Society Children Panel – so our team is well placed to help you with any issues surrounding Social Services and accommodation for children under Section 20 of the Children’s Act 1989.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers offer a fixed fee for an initial client interview and assessment of a private child matter involving Social Services and accommodation for children under Section 20.
After a case has been assessed, it is usually possible for a fixed fee arrangement to be put in place – and Duncan Lewis will always advise clients of the costs in advance.
Duncan Lewis is also one of the UK’s largest providers of Legal Aid family law services – including children law – and in some cases may be able to offer Legal Aid funding for children law cases, including help with the costs of applying for court orders if a client is on benefits or has a low income.
Duncan Lewis child care lawyers always advise clients who are in dispute with Social Services over children placed in local authority accommodation – or who have been taken into voluntary care – to get in touch as soon as possible before the situation escalates.
Once you have contacted Duncan Lewis, we can act swiftly in any child care matter and put in place measures to help resolve the issues and prevent further distress to parents and children.
For expert legal advice on all child care matters – including Social Services and accommodation for children under Section 20 – contact Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers on 020 7923 4020.