Section 20 for residential school

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Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:54 am

Section 20 for residential school

Post by JMB2019 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:07 am

My son is disabled I am considering a residential school 38 weeks mon - fri with weekends and holidays at home. There is not a good relationship with disabled children’s services 2 formal complaints as they have failed to write and complete a final assessment in 7 months. Etc However in tribunal process also as final ehc plan named current day special school who said they couldn’t meet his needs last Oct. the draft assessment from social care states my sons needs could only be met in a 52 week placement against my wishes, as I could be putting him at significant risk of harm because his behaviour was escalating and this was because he didn’t feel safe. I responded to this care plan in writing and then the recommendation has suddenly gone to 38 weeks. With no paperwork discussion care plan still says 52 now I’ve been served with preproceedings and asked to agree a 38 week placement at a residential education no named school or they will take me to court no concerns outlined just they think it’s in his best interests but I have PR. Can they force a school to accommodate a child under section 20 is this not an education decision I’m wortied as the school may pull its offer as it was on hold and most independent schools won’t accept placements that parents don’t agree to. Are they seriously going to take me to court just because I want my son to be home at weekends currrently he’s home all the time as they stopped his 14 nights every 10 week respite because of his behaviour and said he was too high risk
For staff but can stay at home

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Section 20 for residential school

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:01 pm

Dear JMB2019

Welcome to the parents’ discussion forum.

I am sorry it has taken some time for you to receive a response to your post.

From your post, your son has an EHC plan and children’s social care (disability) took the view that he needed to attend a residential school for 52 weeks but you challenged this as you would prefer him to attend for 38 weeks. Children’s services have changed their original position and now suggest 38 weeks. You are concerned that there has been no further discussions regarding your son’s placement just a change in the time limit.

You are concerned that you have been sent a pre-proceedings letter and asked to consent to your son being accommodated under s.20 in order to be placed in the residential school. This has caused you concern because you do not seem to be clear about why they would need you to sign s.20. I think the reason the pre-proceedings letter has been issued is because if you do not consent to s.20 children’s services would not be in a position to place your son without a court order which would allow them to share parental responsibility for your son.

Just to explain, under s.20 you would still have parental responsibility for your son. Children’s services would not. This means that you would be involved in all decisions relating to your son and, you could, withdraw your agreement to s.20 by giving the local authority notice of your intention to do so. Should children’s services obtain a care order then they would share parental responsibility with you but could exercise their parental responsibility over and above yours. You would still be consulted and informed about plans for your son.

Whilst your son would be placed for educational reasons, he would still need to be accommodated as this is the way that children’s services is able to remove a child from his or her home without a court order.

Your son’s care plan would have to be revised to show that he would be in 38 week placement and not 52 weeks.

Please read our advice sheets about Family support.

You can also read about the duties that children’s services have when a child is in the care system. This includes a child in voluntary s.20 accommodation or under a care order Duties on Children’s Services when children are in the care system

As you have been issued with a pre-proceedings letter, you should be entitled to legal aid and you may find it helpful to consult a solicitor so that your circumstances in respect of your son's accommodation or court proceedings can be explained

Should you wish to speak to an adviser, please telephone our free confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes


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