Section 20 of the Children Act 1989

Interesting post from Winston Smith:

[People think teenager Sammie] probably had a tough and challenging childhood. Well,let’s consider that. Was she physically or sexually abused? No. Was she being neglected? Judging by her weight when she arrived no. Is she from a poor or underclass background as so many people presume all kids in care are? No, in fact her parents are middle class and not at all poor.

Winston Smith is the pen name of an anonymous “support worker” working for an unidentified urban welfare department somewhere in the UK.

So, just how did the likes of Sammie end up in care? Well, its all down to section 20 of the Children’s Act 1989 which allows for parents to voluntarily put their children in care should they not be able to cope with them.

You learn something new every day. The specific bit of the Children Act 1989 is:

(1) Every local authority shall provide accommodation for any child in need within their area who appears to them to require accommodation as a result of — (c) the person who has been caring for him being prevented (whether or not permanently, and for whatever reason) from providing him with suitable accommodation or care.

I feel belatedly relieved my mum and dad never knew about this. Winston continues:

Now, in the case of Sammie her parents were unable to [discipline] her or set her any boundaries as a young child and when she became a teenager she was uncivilised and bullied and hit her parents, unable to cope they turned to social services. As a result of Sammie’s parents inability to parent her, you the taxpayer are paying 4,000-5,000 pounds a week to provide Sammie with care (if you could call it that). Meanwhile, in a few weeks time Sammie’s parents are jetting off to India with her little brother, where they go every year, as well as at least one other foreign holiday. Sammie is jealous because this is the first year she can’t go. Sammie, despite her horrific behaviour is still a child and feels very rejected by her parents. Being dumped in a care home has made her behaviour worse not better.

[…] There are thousands of kids under section 20 care orders who should not be [accommodated] and spoilt (as [opposed] to cared for) with taxpayer’s money. Many of them are dumped in care homes when Mummy or Daddy meet a new partner and the teenager can’t cope with the new step-parent […]

An exception, not the rule surely?

The figure for children in Bristol cared for under voluntary protection orders in Bristol doesn’t seem to be immediately available. An old reference from 2005 suggests that there is a statistical return about Section 20 orders to the relevant central government department but I can’t find a specific product at National Statistics relating to Children cared for under voluntary orders.

5 thoughts on “Section 20 of the Children Act 1989”

  1. my daughter is held on a section 20 , not though my choice but though hers ! she has austium and refuses to come home as she cant cope with every day life , im heartbroken to think that she has done this to us her family who just want her home where she is loved , , i cant do a single thing bout this as at the age of 16 she has a choice to state where she wants to live , yes at tax payers money shes just spoilt and allound to do and go how she pleases , how do i compete with that when she has rules at home and im made to be the bad one as i dont give her the money clothes etc they do and let her stay at her boyfriends house !! shes not going to come home with all that , so how dare you just think that EVERY ONE just cant cope and this is it dont judge EVERY BODY with the same cover


      Hi I was pushed into a section 20 with my son who has disability’s, they then lied and said we had 4 wks to integrate him back in to the home after the 4 wks they then placed my child back into the family home, on the 23rd of dec, this left us NO support over the festive period and things went BADLY WRONG, again leaving me no choice but to put him back in section20 since then it has come out the higher bosses had said we could have longer ie as long as this family needs, yet we were NOT told this until after he was back in care, they have now told me and my son {on his own} that he will NEVER come home NEVER spend xmas or new year withus and made our visits less cutting it to one afternoon every 2 wks, where as before we had every sat and one night amth sleep over i have said no so has my 10 yr old son and they have still gone and told him the above and said i will have to give them 28days notice then they will take me to court, Take no notice of james like i said he has no idea what us parents go through,

    2. I have read your post and feel for you. I am in a similar situation. My son has just decided to sign himself into care. He was there as a voluntary placement after he burgled me again last year. He has been admitted to hospital with a drugs overdose, continues to get high, has been involved in another burglary, has been involved in a 3 some (sexually inappropriate behaviour) at the residential unit he is at, and when I said I wanted him returning home they ignored my request, and asked him to sign himself into care. Due to the hurt this has caused I have segregated all ties with my son and told him I am leaving my house to his sister. He is now ignoring his sister and being hurtful towards her. He hardly attends school, and is beyond there control also. They have succeeded in slitting our family totally apart and have caused a rift as my son has now infact signed away my parental rights. Like your daughter, I know he is just a kid, but this has been very hurtful. Social Services don’t help families, they split them apart

      1. i too have been told that my child is not alound to stay over ever no reason givin even though she has requested this … im also told that due to her beening 16 now she has rights and they dont and havent told me any think , my daughter just agrees with them due to not understanding things as we do , i requet meeting etc and they dont happen when i shout and demand this they tell me that im doing my child no good upsetting her i have never had a careplan etc reports from them what so ever and now my daughter is cutting herself making stories up to the point where she says i hit her !! i have never done this … i agreed with them to meet my child in a build up area , but this hasnt happened as yet and its 3 weeks since i seen her now , the phone calls etc have also stopped and im told she in bed or at a ppointment every time i make plans with her they tell me she donst what to come home yet she says she dose when shes ready too , the ss tell me there are getting her a flat when shes ready even though they know that she would fail at the first call and the staff even agree with me the ss is acting like her mother , when i ring the home for a update evey day ! im told to ask ss for it !! im at a loss as where i go from here now our family is torn apart and slowly closing the door to her , my heart breaks i cant sleep for worry eat relax and am so mad all the time ,

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