Government withdraws controversial guidance that “risked vulnerable children”

Wiseman Admin2019, Family LawLeave a Comment

The Government has this month withdrawn the controversial “myth busting” document about councils’ duties to vulnerable children and young people.

It comes after Article 39, a children’s rights charity, lodged an application for judicial review.

According to the charity, the guide – issued last July – advised local authorities that they are legally permitted to reduce and remove support from children in long-term foster care, children who run away or go missing from home or care, children who are remanded to custody and young people who have left care and are still living with their former foster carers.

However, Article 39 argued that the document contained “numerous inaccuracies” and “risked vulnerable children and care leavers losing vital support”.

After initial contact with the Children’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi broke down, Article 39 began legal proceedings against the Government.

After lodging the application, the Department for Education – which distributed the guide – has told Article 39 that they are removing the guidance from the children’s social innovation programme’s website and were notifying local authorities and others that the document had been withdrawn.

Commenting on the announcement, Carolyne Willow, Article 39’s Director, said: “It’s deeply disappointing that the Children’s Minister didn’t respond to our serious concerns months ago but what matters is that the document has now been withdrawn and the risks to children and young people minimised. We are relieved and delighted that children’s rights have prevailed.”

She added: “There is, of course, the possibility that social workers and local authority managers have already used the guide and we hope that councils will quickly review and rectify any removal or reduction of support.”

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