A contact order can be used to authorise the local authority to refuse contact between the child and any of the persons with whom the local authority would normally have a duty to allow contact or where in ‘urgent circumstances’ such an order is required to safeguard and PROMOTE … The recently passed Coronavirus Bill and corresponding Guidance is unfortunately silent as to any relaxation of a Local Authority's statutory duty under the Children Act 1989 to promote contact between a child in care and any relevant party as per section 34 and Schedule 2 paragraph 15 under the current circumstances. If the parents initially refuse to co-operate in using any alternative processes to facilitate contact, the Local Authority should consider first if the contact can be re-scheduled and whether any further provisions may be put in place. The Local Authority may also refuse to allow contact under section 34(4) CA 1989, whereby on an application, the Court may make an order authorising the Authority to refuse to allow contact between the child in care and any person mentioned in section 34(1)(a – d) and named in the order.  However, Thorpe J expressed in the case of Re S (Care: Parental Contact) [2005] 1 FLR 469, CA at [11], ‘a section 34(4) order should not be made… merely against the possibility that circumstances may change in such a way to make termination of contact desirable’. However, the local authority also has a responsibility at any time to give you advice and guidance on the exercise of your welfare powers. Given the recent guidance provided by the Government in response to Covid-19, consideration should be given to the safety of the child in care and the safety of the relevant parties. For a useful introduction to the ECHR see this infographic from Rights Info which discusses the basic structure of the European Court, who it protects and why it matters. Your parents also have a responsibility to maintain contact with you. Section 147 (Departure from requirements in codes) does not apply to any requirements contained in this code. There must be some material change in circumstances between the making of the order and the application to discharge it[8]. There is no legal duty to promote contact between a child freed for adoption and his/her family, unless a section 8 Children Act 1989 Contact Order has been granted. When placement for adoption has been authorised for that child, the legal duty to promote contact under section 34 CA 1989 will not apply. If the relevant parties have mobile phones or laptops that can accommodate either Facetime, Skype or other video-calling technology, this would allow the parties seeking contact to see and speak to the child. This means that the duty to refer applies when the local authority is the employer of staff in regulated activity. Section 1 creates a general duty on local authorities exercising community care functions to promote the well-being of the individual. When placement for adoption has been authorised for that child, the … When must the local authority assess me? Generally, personal activities should not be conducted during duty hours. At no point in recent history has there been a comprehensive list of legal duties placed on local authorities. Under section 10 of the same Act, the local authority is under a duty to make arrangements to promote co- The definition of well-being is wide and can encompass looking out for someone's personal dignity, physical health, mental health … Public authorities (including state and local authorities) undertake a number of public functions, which can give rise to a duty of care to an individual or a class of individuals. Whether these arrangements can continue in the current health crisis will depend on many factors including the current and underlying health of children, parents and carers, their ages, and also depending which local authority has the Care Order. The Children’s Act 1989 gives the local authorities the powers and duties to act on behalf of the protection of vulnerable children and to provide, safe protection and care wherever possible. Whilst guidance has been issued concerning private law cases and children moving between households, that guidance does not assist in this instance. Due to the increasing risk that Covid-19 poses on the safe facilitation of contact, Local Authorities may consider suspending contact arrangements. If any of the relevant parties are required to travel for contact, public transport should be avoided as this may increase the risk of exposure. area of the authority. Section 162(2) of the Act states that a local authority must also make arrangements to promote co-operation between the relevant officers of the authority who exercise its … Local Authority’s duty to promote contact between a child in their care and relevant parties under section 34 of the Children Act 1989: Covid-19 Guidance. allow children in their care reasonable contact with their parents and certain other people. There is no express wording within section 34 that states that the Local Authority must promote contact through face-to-face meetings. There are also resource implications at a time when many workers may be self-isolating and working from home, or absent through sickness. [6] Schedule 2 paragraph 15(1) of the Children Act 1989, [7] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection, [8] Re T (Termination of Contact: Discharge of Order) [1997] 1 FLR  517, CA at [526], [9]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874742/Full_guidance_on_staying_at_home_and_away_from_others__1_.pdf. the local authority’s duty to return a looked after child to his/her family unless this is against his/her interests; and the local authority’s duty, unless it is not reasonably practicable or consistent with his/her welfare, to endeavour to promote contact between a looked after child and his/her parents or others. The Adoption and Children Act 2002, as fully implemented in September 2005, changed the law in relation to contact for some children in foster care. Section 19 sets out the responsibilities for each local authority to prepare plans for … Section 8 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Statutory Guidance on Court Orders and Pre-Proceedings place a duty on local authorities to:. The current restrictions on movement have been scheduled to last for three weeks, however, there are fears that such restrictions will continue for longer than initially presumed. Contact while in care Section 8 of the 2014 Act tidies up an inconsistency in the 1989 Act by inserting in s 34 a reference to a local authority's duty under s 22(3)(a), namely the duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of any looked-after child. Their functions are set out in numerous Acts of Parliament and many of these functions have associated legal duties. Part 3, Regulation 9, provides for a local authority to charge for certain actions in its health improvement duty. A local authority has a discretion to provide accommodation under this part of ChA 1989 where the local authority considers to provide accommodation would safeguard or promote the child’s welfare—even where there is a person with parental responsibility willing and able to care for the child. (c) provides for the functions of local authorities in relation to the children they look after (sections 75 to 103, 124 and 125) (d) provides for the circumstances in which local authorities may or must provide support for young people leaving, or who have left, local authority care formerly accommodated in certain establishments However, during the current crisis it is likely that the word ‘safeguard’ will form the overriding basis when considering whether contact can be safely carried out. Key sections: Duties of the local authority; Maintained. The Local Authority also has a responsibility to its staff, foster carers and to the wider public.  There are also resource implications at a time when many workers may be self-isolating and working from home, or absent through sickness. S/he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the help of the services by the local Authority 2. Legislation and guidance. Any accommodation provided must safeguard and promote … Under a Care Order (either an interim or final) the Local Authority shares parental responsibility for the child.  The paramount consideration of the Court in children matters is the welfare and safety of the child.  The Local Authority has a duty in law to promote contact if it is safe to do so. Instead social workers will be obliged to ensure contact arrangements have “clear purpose”, as set out in the child’s care plan. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play. 11(1), (4)Duty to ensure that any placement outside the local authority area is approved by a nominated officer. The recently passed Coronavirus Bill and corresponding Guidance is unfortunately silent as to any relaxation of a Local Authority’s statutory duty under the Children Act 1989 to promote contact between a child in care and any relevant party as per section 34 and Schedule 2 paragraph 15 under the current circumstances. Provision of services for children in need, their families and others Section 17(1) states that it shall be the general duty of every local authority: Section 95 Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014(previously Schedule 2 paragraph 15 Children Act 1989) says: (1) Where a child is being looked after by a local authority, the authority must, unless it is not reasonably practicable or consistent with the child’s wellbeing, promote contact between the child and— (a) his parents; (b) any person who is not a parent of his but who has … The way in which we fulfil this duty is by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those children's assessed needs (Section 17, Children Act 1989). E+W (1) Where a child is in the care of a local authority, the authority shall (subject to the provisions of this section) [F1 and their duty under section 22(3)(a)] [F2 or, where the local authority is in Wales, under section 78(1)(a) of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014] allow the child reasonable contact with— The local authority might think that you may have a need for care and support if: You tell them about it yourself. preventative services arranged by local authorities. There are legal consequences for local authorities resulting from their corporate status. We all hope that this pandemic and health crisis comes to an end soon and contact arrangements can return to normal.  In the meantime all of us must do everything we can to keep everyone, especially the most vulnerable, safe and well. Posts about duty to promote contact written by suesspiciousminds. ... Costs to local authority. April 7, 2020 / in Family Law, Frontpage Article, News / by Liberty Crawford. Conserving biodiversity can include restoring or enhancing a population or habitat. An analysis of the Court of Appeal decision in RE W (CHILDREN) (2012) [2012] EWCA Civ 999 I have written about intractable and long-running contact disputes before on this blog, and no doubt I will again. A public authority can be a: 1. local authority including a unitary, county, district, community, parish or town council 2. government department or one of their executive agencies 3. non-departmental government body 4. The Local Authority and the social worker would need to use their professional judgement to decide if they can safely facilitate contact in this way. 3. The Local Authority will need to review whether contact that has been previously facilitated at Contact Centres should continue and whether the risk posed to contact centre supervisors can be safeguarded against. Therefore, if the suspension of contact is based on the Local Authority’s fears of Covid-19, it is not advisable to rely on s34(6). However, as Covid-19 and legislation surrounding it progresses and changes, there may be future legislation and guidance continuing to emerge in the near future. The local authority is under a legal duty to assess you if: you're an adult, and; it appears that you may have a need for care and support. [5]. The local authority, following its duty to promote contact, must allow a child who is the subject of a care order to have reasonable contact with his parents and certain other people, unless directed otherwise by a court order, or unless the local authority temporarily decides to refuse contact in urgent circumstances (Section 34 Children Act N.B. Due to the lack of clarity surrounding the Local Authority’s duty to promote and facilitate contact, the Local Authority could consider contacting the relevant Government Minister directly to seek clarification as to whether Government envisages that face-to-face contact can take place under the current circumstances. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parent’s homes.[10]. Duties of local authorities in relation to children looked after by them E+W 22 General duty of local authority in relation to children looked after by them. The existence or otherwise of a common law duty of care owed by a statutory authority turns on a close examination of the terms, scope and purpose of the relevant statutory regime. There is no further clarification of the definition of ‘contact’ within section 34, as such, there is room for interpretation as to what can amount to sufficient contact. Local authorities are bound by statute. If any individual contracts the virus in a household of several people, other individuals must remain in isolation for 14 days[7]. Arguably the case of keeping a mother and baby/toddler together would be strengthened if the alternative was no in-person contact whatsoever. Building capacity with partners to promote … A clear material change would be a point where the Government confirms that Covid-19 is no longer a threat to the general public. Care and Support functions undertaken and decisions made in this situation are unlawful and subject to legal challenge. Local authorities are bound by statute. Local authority social services. (9) Where a local authority are conducting enquiries under this section, it shall be the duty of any person mentioned in subsection (11) to assist them with those enquiries (in particular by providing relevant information and advice) if called upon by the authority to do so. As it stands the current laws, regulations and guidance provided is still in force and should be followed. If the child in care, relevant parties, or any other individual living within the same household is symptomatic or has been in contact with another individual showing symptoms of the virus or the child is sick with something that might be the virus, then face to face contact should not take place. 5 C.F.R. The local authority has a duty to promote contact between a looked-after child and their parents, relatives and friends. The Local Authority should rely on their professional judgement in deciding what action to take, taking into consideration the welfare of the child and the effect on the child of no contact. N.B. As a councillor you will automatically have access to the full range of services that we provide. In addition, local authorities must have regard to any guidelines set out here. Recent developments have not led to a legal change in a Local Authority’s duty to safeguard and promote welfare and allow reasonable contact. There are 2 two primary routes into the ‘looked after’ system: 1. being This is a rapidly changing situation based on emerging and changing government and health guidelines, particularly social distancing and the need to stay at home except for specified reasons. Paragraph 2.78 of 2015 Guidance[4] outlines  the presumption that there should be continued contact between the child and their family whilst the child is in the care of the Local Authority. E+W (1) It shall be the general duty of every local authority (in addition to the other duties imposed on them by this Part)— (a) to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need; and (b) so far as is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families, Staffordshire County Council do not have a blanket policy.  Each case will be considered separately.  Indirect contact by social media video calls will be preferred to direct contact where it is appropriate.  Obviously direct contact will not take place when either the parent, child or someone in their household has a diagnosis or suspected symptoms of Covid-19.  Similarly direct contact is unlikely if they fall into a vulnerable category and are self-isolating for 12 weeks.  This will cause particular issues as over 30% of Staffordshire foster carers are aged 65 or over. It covers a local authority’s duty to safeguard and promote a child’s welfare and make such services available for children as are reasonable, specifically in relation to placing the child in suitable accommodation and preparing a care plan. This is the default position in the absence of any court orders. any person who had care of the child under wardship immediately before the Care Order was made. A public authority, which is under no statutory obligation to exercise a power, generally owes no common law du… The Local Authority’s duty towards its supervising staff and foster carers means that exposing them to numerous families contact sessions is unlikely to be safe. This practice note explains these consequences and deals with the main issue arising out of statutory creations; the ultra vires doctrine. Local Authorities can refuse to allow contact without making an application to the Court under section 34(6) CA 1989. 14. Local Authority’s duty to promote contact between a child in their care and relevant parties under section 34 of the Children Act 1989: Covid-19 Guidance. On that basis, it is advised that face-to-face contact within Contact Centres should not take place. local councils will have more say and ownership over how their communities are run and managed. The Care Act 2014 - Local authorities have new duties for safeguarding vulnerable adults including lead a multi-agency local adult safeguarding system, find out what action is needs when they think adults are at risk, establish safeguarding adult boards, review, arrange independent advocate. The consequence is not only that the relevant parties could contract the virus themselves, but also that they could pass it on, putting others surrounding the parties at an unnecessary risk. S/h… The recently passed Coronavirus Bill and corresponding Guidance is unfortunately silent as to any relaxation of a Local Authority’s statutory duty under the Children Act 1989 to promote contact between a child in care and any relevant party as per section 34 and Schedule 2 … Specifically the police, clinical commissioning groups and the local authority are under a duty to make arrangements to work together, and with other partners locally, to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area. 2. For example, paragraph 2.92 of the 2015 Guidance provides that meaningful contact can also be achieved through indirect means such as ‘letters, telephone calls and exchange of photographs  and paragraph 2.94 encourages the use of modern technology in order to maintain contact. [1]https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-21/coronavirus.html, [2]https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-01/0122/en/20122en.pdf, [3] any other person named in sections (b) – (e) of section 34(1) CA 1989, [4] The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations: Volume 2: Care planning, Placement and Case Review 2015. Children’s Services has a general duty to promote contact with wider family members such as grandparents and siblings. The s.2 duty is not confined to the local authority itself arranging preventative services. Parents and/or connected parties can have contact with the child indirectly through; If the parents or connected persons wish to see the child in person, contact with the child may be possible from a distance, for example; Current Government measures[9] have restricted the public’s need to leave their home. The extension of the well-being power is … S22C(9)Duty to place within the local authority’s area Reg. 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