Looked After Children

June 30th, 2021 by James Goudie KC

In Salford City Council v W (2021) EWHC 1689 (Fam) MacDonald J reviewed the authorities and outlined the approach for determining whether a child was “looked after” for the purposes of Part 3 of the Children Act 1989. It sets out the principles which apply when deciding whether a child has been accommodated by a local authority under Section 20, so that he or she is a “looked after child” within the meaning of Section 22, rather than simply having been placed, pursuant to a private arrangement, with foster parents.

The children in the case were not the subject of care orders. In determining whether they were “looked after” the question was whether they had been provided with accommodation by the authority. In answering that question, regard has to be had the the questions raised by Section 20. Overall, the Court has to ask itself whether at the material time the child is in need and appears to the relevant local authority to require accommodation for one of the statutorily defined reasons. If the answer to that question is “Yes”, the child is a “looked after” child.

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