William Eichler 14 June 2016

Council duties to young people under threat

Hundreds of local authority duties to young people could be removed as the Government seeks to ‘radically alter children’s social care’, according to industry professionals.

In a letter to the Guardian, the experts warn Clauses 15 to 19 of the children and social work bill introduces ‘a fast-track process for the removal of any of hundreds of local authority duties to children, young people and families’.

The bill, which is being scrutinised by the House of Lords today, will enable a local authority or the secretary of state to draft regulations removing any children’s social care requirement in most of the Children Act 1989 and all of the Children Act 2004.

The clauses will make it possible to remove children’s social care requirements for up to six years, the sixteen experts and professionals who signed the letter argue.

‘Innovation is vital and welcome,’ the letter said, ‘but the scale of the legal requirements threatened by this bill is enormous, encompassing social care duties in respect of child protection, children in need, children in care, care leavers and disabled children.’

‘We urge peers to reject clauses 15-19, and call on the government to consult on its vision and plan for children’s social care,’ the letter concluded.

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