Divorce & Family
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Here are few examples on when there is a risk of your child being removed…
Section 46(1) of the Children Act 1989 sets out the police protection powers.
A child may be protected from harm in an emergency situation by a Police Officer taking the child into Police Protection, without a Court Order. This can be for a maximum period of 72 hours.
This tends to be when there is an imminent risk to the child. Additionally, the referral is often made late at night or over the weekend.
They must be satisfied there is reasonable cause to suspect the child would otherwise be likely to suffer significant harm. This is intended to be a short-term remedy and the Act does provide for the child to be transferred to Local Authority accommodation at an early stage. When removed and taken into police protection, parents or anyone with PR for the child has no right to remove the child during the period of protection.
The police are not given PR. If the child’s continued detention is warranted, then the police may apply for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) on the Local Authority’s behalf. Once the EPO expires, if it is felt that the child still needs to be accommodated then there should be an application made to the Court for an order.
The Children Act 1989 places a duty on Local Authorities to take reasonable steps to identify a child in need. Once a referral has been made, the Local Authority will decide within one working day whether to take action. Where the concerns are sufficiently serious, the Local Authority must carry out an initial assessment within seven working days.
Under section 31 Children Act 1989, the Local Authority can apply to the court for a child or young person to become the subject of a Care Order.
To make a Care Order, the court must be satisfied that certain ‘threshold criteria ‘have been met:
that the child concerned is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, AND
the harm, or likelihood of harm is attributable to:
Basically, section 20 of the Children Act 1989 is about the Local Authority’s duty to provide a child with somewhere to live because the child doesn’t currently have a home or a safe home:
The local authority will ask parents to sign a ‘section 20 agreement’. This means the parents are voluntarily agreeing to let their children live in foster care. During this time the Local Authority carries out investigations and will encourage the parents to rectify the situation.
The Local Authority does NOT share parental responsibility under a section 20 agreement.
If you are presented with a section 20 agreement, please get in touch with our family lawyers immediately. Do not sign anything before seeking legal advice.
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