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local authorities and children


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Local authorities have statutory responsibilities for children in their area. The Children Act 1989 requires local authorities to provide services for children in need so that wherever possible they may be brought up by their own families, thus avoiding the need for instituting care proceedings. The Act specifies certain services that local authorities must provide. These include: appropriate day care provision for under fives and after school and holiday activities for children of school age; advice, guidance, and counselling; home help; transport or assistance with travel expenses in order to use any of the services provided and assistance with holidays; and family centres for all children in their area. Local authorities are also under a duty to provide accommodation for children whose parents are unable to do so (see voluntary accommodation). An important objective of the Children Act is to promote the provision of these services as positive help for children in need. Emphasis is placed on the need for local authorities and families to work in partnership and often on the basis of written agreements. Local authorities also have a duty to investigate when they suspect that children in their area are being ill treated or neglected. If their suspicions are confirmed they must apply for a care order, an emergency protection order, or a supervision order, as appropriate (see also section 47 enquiry). In relation to adoption, local authorities are obliged to maintain an adoption service and to report to the court in respect of non-agency adoption applications. See also child being looked after by a local authority.

Subjects: Law.


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