What is section 20 in relation to social services?  

What is a section 20 in relation to child social servicesWhat is section 20 in relation to social services?  

Section 20 of the Children Act 1989, relates to the provision of accommodation and services for children by local authorities. It empowers local authorities to provide voluntary accommodation for children in need, who may require accommodation due to various circumstances. 

Under Section 20, a child can be accommodated by the local authority if their parents or guardians are unable to provide suitable accommodation or if the child has been abandoned. It is a voluntary arrangement where parents or guardians give their consent for the child to be accommodated by the local authority. 

When a child is accommodated under Section 20, the local authority assumes responsibility for their care and welfare. This includes providing accommodation, ensuring access to education and healthcare, and making decisions in the child’s best interests. 

It’s important to note that Section 20 accommodation is intended to be a short-term solution, and it should not be used as a permanent alternative to parental care. The local authority should work towards reunifying the child with their parents or finding a suitable long-term placement, such as foster care or adoption, if necessary. This could include the issue of court proceedings. 

If you and your family are being investigated by children’s social services and you need Legal Advice then please do get in touch either by calling the number above (9am – 5pm Monday – Friday) or by requesting a callback using the form at the bottom of this page. The first call is always free of charge and we can advise you if you are likely to be eligible for Legal Aid.  It’s important to take advice early so you can understand the process and try and achieve the best outcome. 

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