This is an extract of our Children Local Authorities document, which we sell as part of our Family Notes collection written by the top tier of Cambridge And Oxilp And College Of Law students.
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Child Law Lecture 7 Local Authorities
What are the responsibilities of the LA?
When to help?
When to take compulsory measures?
How to identify harm or risk of harm?
How to identify perpetrator of harm- if not parents cause harm, take away child from them is good?
When is state intervention justified?
How to judge standard of care?
Duty to report to local authority to protect children ie. Neighbour, GP, teacher
a) Non intervention
Respect sanctity and privacy of family unless child is likely to be harmed
Lord McKay: "integrity and independence of the family is the basic building block of a free and democratic society and the need to defend it should be clearly perceivable in law...unless there is evidence a child is being or likely to be positively harmed because of a failure in the family, the state...should not interfere"
Compulsory measures can only betaken following court order
Bare minimum to satisfy the courts before court giving order- S1(1) overall welfare in children to give order
Threshold conditions : s31(2) CA 1989
Art 8: any intervention must be proportionate b) Working in partnership
LA must work in partnership with parents
Try to make voluntary arrangements
Provision of services not a mark of failure on the family c) Maintenance of links between child and family
Promote upbringing of children by their families
Presume and promote contact between children and parents- presumption of benefit of contact
Adoption to separate link between children and family is the last resort
LA try to rehabilitate the family
LA gives support to family
But is the rehabilitation too much? Baby P case http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk11626806 & Poppy Widdison d) Uphold good social work practice
Provision of Services - Assistance
General duty to children in need
S17(1): every LA has a duty to
: promote and safeguard the welfare of children in their area who are in need, and
: so far as is consistent with that duty to promote the upbringing of children by their families, by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those needs
S17(10): a child is defined as being in need if Child Law Lecture 7 Local Authorities
(a) he is unlikely to achieve or maintain or have opportunity to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health and development without the provision of services for him by LA
(b) his health or development is likely to be significantly impaired or further impaired without provision of such services
(c) he is disabled
Exercise is up to LA to decide on the needs and the budget of LA
S17(11): health (physical or mental), development(physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural)
How would LA discharge this general duty?
S17(3): services may be provided for the family of the particular child in need of for any member of his family if they are provided with the view to safeguarding or promoting child's welfare
Does not need to be actual relative
What are the kind of services provided?
o Giving assistance in kind or cash- baby coupons for diapers and milk powder
Contribute to cost of looking after child- every child has access to basic child care, LA
will adjust depend on each child's situation
Facilitate provision of services by others
Specific Duties and Powers:
In pursuing the general duty under S17(1), the LA has some specific duties: Sch 2
(a) Identification of children in need
Take reasonable steps to identify
Publish information about the services they provide
Take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that those who need services receive information about them
(b) Promote upbringing of children by their families
Make provision for advice, guidance, counselling and home help
May provide activities/facilities to encourage this
If child is being looked after, endeavour to promote contact unless it is against his welfare
Provide family centres
(c) Prevent abuse and neglect
Duty to inform another LA if child lives or going to live there
Use services to prevent abuse and neglect
(d) Provide accommodation to 3rd party to protect children
(e) Day care
Required to provide such day care as is appropriate for those under 5
Provide facilities for those caring for children in day care
Facilitate provision of day care by other agencies
(f) Duty to consider racial groups
In the provision of day care or recruiting foster parents
General Duty of Investigation:
S47(1): where a LA
(a) are informed that a child who lives or is found in their area is (i) the subject of an
Emergency Protection Order, or (ii) is in police protection
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