William Eichler 21 December 2023

Court provides clarity on duties owed to children at home

Court provides clarity on duties owed to children at home image
Image: William Barton / Shutterstock.com.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Wolverhampton City Council did not have a duty of care to protect a child from harm from a third party because it could not be established that they had assumed responsibility to protect them.

In YXA v Wolverhampton City Council the claimants alleged that social workers were negligent in not taking action to remove an abused child from the care of their parents/stepfather and exposing them to continuing abuse.

The judge ruled that in this case the council did not have a duty of care to protect the child.

Sarah Erwin-Jones, partner at Browne Jacobson and the lawyer who acted for the council, said the ruling gave local authorities clarity on how far they are legally responsible for children living at home with parents. She said it will ensure they can exercise their statutory duties towards all children in their families without creating an assumption of responsibility and putting themselves at risk of negligence claims.

‘Today’s judgment is a welcome one for local authorities across England and Wales, finally resolving the ongoing question of whether a common law duty of care is owed by local authorities to children living at home with their parents and when a Care Order is not in place,’ she said.

‘Seeking the court’s permission to take children into government care is a big step which councils don’t take lightly – many children have social workers while still living with their parents who are the only people that have parental responsibility.

‘With the care system already bursting at the seams, this judgment will ensure that local governments can focus on the Supporting Families Programme, which seeks to help vulnerable families thrive, building their resilience by providing effective whole family support to help prevent escalation into statutory services in the first place.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Social Worker - Physical & Sensory Impairments

Essex County Council
£45217 - £54395 per annum + Flexible Working, Hybrid, CPD
The Team The Mid Essex Physical & Sensory Impairments team support people from eighteen years old with a wide range of conditions and difficulties England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Residential Worker - Waking Nights

Essex County Council
£30232.8 - £31713.5 per annum + + 26 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pen
Residential Worker - Waking NightsPermanent, Part Time£30,232.80 to £31,713.50 per annum (includes allowance)Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Residential Worker

Essex County Council
£26834.5 - £34244.1 per annum + + 26 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pen
Residential WorkerPermanent, Full Time£26,834.50 up to £34,244.10 per annum (includes allowance)Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Domestic Abuse - Project and Programme Officer WMF1096e

Westmorland and Furness Council
£32,076 - £33,024
This is an exciting opportunity to join the Safe and Strong Communities team Kendal, Cumbria
Recuriter: Westmorland and Furness Council

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Adviser - WMF1097e

Westmorland and Furness Council
£44,428 - £45,441 Fixed term for 12 months
We are looking for someone to help lead the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Cumbria / Countywide
Recuriter: Westmorland and Furness Council
Linkedin Banner

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.