Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:39 pm

As at 31st March 2016 there were 19,000 children in the care system under voluntary arrangements. You may have heard these kinds of arrangements referred to as ‘voluntary accommodation’, ‘section 20 voluntary arrangements’ or even just ‘section 20’. Section 20 is the part of the Children Act 1989 (the leading source of child welfare law in England and Wales) that explains the powers and duties that can allow children’s services to bring children into the care system under voluntary arrangements, including without the oversight of the court.

If you have experience of, or have been affected by the use of, section 20 voluntary arrangements you can share your experiences and views in an online questionnaires as part of a new Knowledge Inquiry (research project). To find out more about the Inquiry and its aims and to fill in a questionnaire please go to the Inquiry webpage on the Family Rights Group website.

Dorothyandtoto
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Joined: Fri May 27, 2016 9:18 am

Re: Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

Postby Dorothyandtoto » Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:40 pm

I am trying via lawyers to put my son into care under section 20 but my local authority is refusing to do so. We now have to go to judicial review.

He has been physically and sexually assaulting me, his dad and his younger brother.

He has autism, ADHD, epilepsy, dyspraxia and severe learning difficulties. He has no concept of boundaries and doesn't seem to be sorry when he hurts you. He is also huge - 5ft 9in and weighs over 14 stone by now. He was put on risperidone which has made him put on a lot of weight. If he is on top of me I cannot physically get him off. A policeman said that he could rape me.

Honestly... what on earlth is my local authority - ****- up to? It's ridiculous.

He is grabbing his little brother's genitals etc. His poor brother is terrifield. Support workers have witnessed him assaulting me and grabbing a knife too. He also grabbed my breast in front of a support worker yesterday.

Social Services also tried to do a initial child protection conference which got thrown out by the chair. I have escalated this to a stage 2 complaint btw. We have not abused our son at all. He comes from a very loving home. We just think he needs a residential autism school because he has very challenging behaviour and cannot cope with transition. No one seems to want to deal with this.

We are having to pay lawyers thousands to sort this out.
****Amended by Suzie

Har1Her1
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:59 am

Re: Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

Postby Har1Her1 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:38 pm

Hello,

Our situation is slightly different and I have written about it on here very (perhaps too) frequently, so please feel free to view the threads. My children are both under Child Protection Plans and the category of one child's plan is 'sexual abuse' because his brother (who has suspected autism) evidenced similar behaviour to the behaviour you describe towards his older brother (who has Asperger syndrome). The danger statement on both the boys' plans is that I could not supervise the boys (who are strapping teenagers) sufficiently to keep them safe.

My eldest son was arrested because his mental health deteriorated and he made threats to kill. My youngest was interviewed under caution. My husband (also AS) has removed himself from the scene. Part of the previous plans was that my eldest should not return to the family home (due to his brother's behaviour and my inability to manage the situation). Yet he was discharged suddenly from the CAMHS unit where he was staying. We requested a Section 20, but we were told nothing was available that was appropriate for my son. He also has a risk assessment and forensic report which make placing him difficult. As for my youngest, CSC have promised help and support for him, but so far nothing has materialised.

My eldest may be going to live in a group home if/when funding becomes available and he turns 18 (in a couple of months time). My youngest remains disturbed and controlling.

Have you asked CSC and Health/Education is a full time residential school could be found for your son?

I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful, but I feel we are both placed in rather impossible situations in which there is an obvious danger but (in my opinion) CSC have not got the knowledge or understanding to respond adequately.

Har1Her1
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Re: Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

Postby Har1Her1 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:40 pm

Sorry, I have reread your post, please ignore my comments.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:08 pm

Dear dorothyandtoto,

Welcome to the Parents Forum.

I am sorry to hear about the difficulties you are experiencing getting support from children services. It must be very frightening for you as well as dangerous given your sons behaviour. How old is your son? Do you know what he wants? Is he able to access a support of an advocate, so that his views can be expressed?

It is not clear from your post what support, if any, was offered to you and why it falls short of what you need.
Our advice sheet about family support sets out what assessments could be carried out by children services and when section 20 accommodation might be offered.
However, it sounds like you are now at the later stage where you have already challenged previous decisions by way of complaint but these have not been upheld.
You are seeking a judicial review of the local authority’s decision not to accommodate your son.

Things are at crisis level and sound dangerous for all of you. Why was a child protection conference held and why was a decision made not to place any of your children on a child protection plan given the dangers? What about respite care-has this been offered?

What is the school and health’s view about your son going into residential care?
Do they agree with you?
Have you identified any school or placement that you think will be able meet your son’s needs?
You could also speak to the National Autistic Society about the types of support they think are suitable and also Young Minds. .

To discuss your case in depth, you could call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Har1her1, thank you for your supportive post.
Best wishes,

Suzie

ladyp
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 6:47 pm

Re: Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

Postby ladyp » Sat May 20, 2017 5:08 pm

Yes and I was forced to do so when in hospital he has now been on care 4 years with very very limited contact (and they apparently lost the paperwork) he was with foster carers for 2 years before being pulled out due to their way with him I have asked the LGO to 're look at complaints and sent them the paperwork cs do not have etc they have now said that it is highly likely that will take it back to court to remove the care order!!! Also they have Ofsted permantley in place for now as it is such a badly run children's service etc word of advice do not believe them and get a solicitor to check anything they want you to sign because they lie..

Misscla
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Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:39 pm

Re: Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

Postby Misscla » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:18 pm

Hi all. I am new here. My teenage daughter has gone to live in temporary foster care under section 20 which caused a lot of distress because of the way it was managed. This happened a week ago and I still have no contact from her social worker on how contact will be arranged between us. I have text him and emailed him but got a feeble response of, I can help but am busy at the moment :evil:

I am quite annoyed by this as she has just had a baby and they are both there together.

All i want to do is see my family.

Should my social worker have arranged this already?

I feel like I'm being ignored.

Any help or advice warmly welcome :)

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:43 pm

Dear Miss,

Welcome to the Parents Forum and congratulations on becoming a grandmother.
I can see that your teenage daughter is subject to section 20 accommodation. This means that she is a “looked after child” and children services owe duties to her.
Is baby also subject to section 20 accommodation as well?

How old is your daughter? If she is 16 or over, only she can consent (or not) to section 20 accommodation.

It sounds like children services were worried about baby, is that right? Or do they want your daughter to receive the support and parenting advice of a trained foster carer? The foster carer, as well as supporting your daughters will also be monitoring and assessing her care of her baby.

It is very important that your daughter is supported to cooperate with the foster carer and work to any agreement.

If she was to leave foster care suddenly, for example, children services might be worried about baby's welfare and consider care proceedings. The next few months will be exceptionally important for your daughter. If she was also worried about her family(and put you before her baby) she risks losing baby into the care system.

However, I can see how worrying it is not knowing what is happening.

You should be receiving your daughter's care plan soon, if you haven’t already got a copy. This should outline your contact with her.

It will also detail everything about your daughter’s health, education and foster placement.

There will also an independent reviewing officer (IRO) appointed to look after her care plan. The independent reviewing officer will chair a review within 4 weeks and you should be invited to the review and consulted about your daughters care plan beforehand.
Because your daughter is accommodated, children services should promote reasonable contact with you and other relatives unless it is not reasonably practicable or consistent with your daughter’s welfare.

If you do not yet have the care plan, I suggest you telephone and then email your social worker and Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) and ask for the care plan and for the contact plans.
But because your daughter has a baby as well, they will be putting baby's welfare before you. Ask in writing, what you as grandma can do to support your daughter.
Have a look at our advice sheet 11-(see care plan link above) which sets out the duties to your daughter and the role of the independent reviewing officer.
Finally, in case children services take care proceedings, is there anyone in the friend or family network who could be assessed to care for baby, if it is decided by the court that mum cannot provide safe and good enough parenting? Have a look our advice sheets - 22 about fostering assessments and 15 care proceedings.

I hope this helps but if you have any questions, please post again. For in-depth advice, do also try and ring our advice line on 0808 801 0366.


Best wishes,
Suzie

Ignatious
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Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

Postby Ignatious » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:12 pm

Yes

Although in my case, the Local Authority have concerns and recently escalated matters to a PLO with a view to going straight to court (no opportunity to try and work with LA on the issues as the CPP process stagnated). Court date sorted, then a week before one of my children was reported to have an unexplainable bruise. Duty social worker (not one that knows the family) came out and wanted to do a child protection medical which we refused (not doing one at that time of night) she left and came back several hours later with the police. I was given 3 options, leave the house voluntarily, leave the house in handcuffs or the police use their powers and remove the children. I reluctantly chose to leave voluntarily. The following day, (with our regular social workers) a child protection medical was conducted and we agreed to a Section 20 with friends. The day after that we were forced into local authority foster placement section 20 (as friends couldn't accommodate past that 1 day) as if we refused to consent, the police would have been contacted to use their powers to remove the children.

Were now currently in the court system on an ICO.
I am a parent. My responses are not from any formal training background but from my own experiences, my own research and my own point of view.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Have you been asked to agree to your child coming into care under a voluntary arrangement?

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:33 pm

Dear Ignatious

Thanks for your post. I am sorry to hear that your family’s situation has become very serious. This must be very distressing for you all. It sounds as if you acted responsibly by agreeing to leave the family home on the night in question so that your children could remain safely at home that night and that you agreed to the child protection medical taking place the next day.

It is a shame that your family friends were unable to care for the children for longer. If you have other family members or friends who could potentially care for your children or support you to care for them you should let both your social worker and your solicitor know as soon as possible. As you explain that the children are now subject to interim care orders you should have a solicitor to advise and represent you. You may already be aware, if this has not happened already, that you can ask for a family group conference to be arranged to help bring your support network together to try to come up with a safe plan for the children.

I hope that you managed to discuss the situation with the solicitor who was assisting you in relation to the PLO process before you made the decision to agree to section 20 foster or residential placements with children’s services. You express very clearly that you felt forced to agree to this or face the children being taken into police protection. Of course, another option, which should have been discussed with you by the social worker and your solicitor if you did manage to contact them, was that the local authority could have sought an emergency protection order if they believed that the children were in urgent need of protection and if you if did not agree to a section 20 placement.

As you have posted a separate thread about the children now being on interim care orders I will reply to that separately.

Best wishes

Suzie


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