The local authority wants to place my children into care
The Social Services recently sent me a letter which states that they are going to consider issuing care proceedings in respect of my two children. Within this letter they have asked me to provide my Section 20 consent for my children to be removed from my care and placed in foster care whilst assessments are ongoing. Please can you advise me as to what I can do and what my rights are?
This letter entitles you to free legal advice in relation to this matter. A solicitor will be able to advise you on the contents of this letter, the concerns the local authority have and what their plans and expectations are.
A solicito r will then take your instructions and attend the meeting to represent your best interests.
It is noted that this letter outlines that the local authority are seeking your Section 20 consent for your children to be placed in Foster Care. In situations where the local authority have significant concerns regarding a child’s safety and wellbeing whilst in parental care, they may seek what is known as Section 20 consent for the child to become looked after by them.
The local authority cannot place a child in foster care where you or another person with parental responsibility objects. However, if the local authority is satisfied that the child’s best interests can only be met by providing accommodation for him or her, and you do not agree to Section 20 Voluntary Accommodation, they may then issue Care Proceedings or seek Police Protection.
A parent, at all times, has the right to withdraw their Section 20 consent. However, it would be highly inadvisable to take such an important step without first taking legal advice. Particularly, in cases where the Local Authority’s concerns are so significant, that without such consent, it is likely they would issue an urgent application to the court to secure an Interim Care Order for the Child to continue to be looked after.
It is important that you know that Section 20 consent should always be provided voluntarily and not under any duress.