Section 20 of the Children Act 1989, more commonly referred to as a “s.20” or “s.20 Agreement”, is becoming an ever-increasing feature in cases involving children. However, a certain amount of confusion remains over what rights the Local Authority, and most importantly the parents, have before and after signing a s.20.
A s.20 gives the Local Authority the legal grounding to place a child in foster care on a temporary basis. Usually, a s.20 will last as long as the Local Authority needs to carry out their necessary assessments before more permanent decisions are made about where/with whom a child is to live. It is a written document that is signed by both the social worker and the parents, and it is used as a way to come to an agreement instead of going to court.
However, there are increasing incidences of when s.20’s have been used incorrectly. Often parents are not aware of their rights, and more troublingly are not aware of what exactly they are signing in an extremely emotional and stressful environment. If you are confused or unsure, do not sign.
No matter what age, as a parent you do not have to sign anything you are not comfortable with or confused about. When it comes to your child, you must be absolutely certain. Here at Bretherton Law, we have specialist Child law experts who are committed to ensure that your rights as a parent are absolutely protected from start to finish. Your dedicated legal team is just a phone call away.