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Section 20 agreements

Removing a child from the care of their parents is one of the severe steps a local authority can take and they can only do so in specific circumstances.

A section 20 agreement relates to section 20 of the Children Act 1989. Under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, the local authority has a duty to provide accommodation for any child who needs it, including in circumstances where the people caring for the child are no longer able to provide them with suitable accommodation or when there is nobody with parental responsibility for the child. The local authority can also provide accommodation for children under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 in circumstances where the local authority consider there are welfare or safety concerns.

A section 20 agreement is a voluntary agreement between the local authority and parents for the child to be placed in the care of the local authority, for example in foster care. If the local authority has asked whether you will give your agreement under section 20 for your child to be placed in the care of the local authority, you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Call our specialist team on 0161 696 6193 or complete our online enquiry form.


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Signing a section 20 agreement

You do not have to agree to a section 20 agreement however you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity if the local authority has asked for your agreement.

You have the right to obtain legal advice before entering into a section 20 agreement and should do so as soon as possible. Our children law solicitors will be able to advise you in relation to your circumstances and inform you of any potential implications.

Withdrawing consent

After signing a section 20 agreement, a person with parental responsibility can withdraw their consent at any time.

If the local authority have concerns about the safety of your children, the local authority may consider taking further action if a parent withdraws their consent such as making an application to court for a care order .

If you have signed a section 20 agreement but no longer want your child to remain in the care of the local authority, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. We can advise you in relation to the potential implications and can assist you with any communication with the local authority.

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