Q&As

Assuming that an arrangement under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 can only be ended by a parent expressly objecting to the continuation of section 20 and that parent being both willing and objectively able to accommodate the child themselves, is it right that a looked after child (LAC) under section 20 who attends a 38-week residential school placement returns home because the child’s school is closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) (for two weeks) retains LAC status?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 24/11/2020

The following Local Government Q&A produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Assuming that an arrangement under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 can only be ended by a parent expressly objecting to the continuation of section 20 and that parent being both willing and objectively able to accommodate the child themselves, is it right that a looked after child (LAC) under section 20 who attends a 38-week residential school placement returns home because the child’s school is closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) (for two weeks) retains LAC status?

Assuming that an arrangement under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 can only be ended by a parent expressly objecting to the continuation of section 20 and that parent being both willing and objectively able to accommodate the child themselves, is it right that a looked after child (LAC) under section 20 who attends a 38-week residential school placement returns home because the child’s school is closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) (for two weeks) retains LAC status?

A child is deemed to be looked after by a local authority if the child is either ‘in their care’ or is provided with accommodation by the authority in the exercise of any functions which are social services functions (section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989)). ‘Social services functions’ are defined in Schedule 1 to the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970. ‘Accommodation’ means accommodation which is provided for a continuous period of more than 24 hours (ChA 1989, s 22(2)).

A child will be a ‘looked after child’ if accommodated by the local authority under a care order, or if accommodated under ChA 1989, s 20. ChA 1989, s 20(1) provides that every

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