This is a brief summary of the legislation about Looked After children and young people, it should not be taken as a comprehensive statement of the law. People should consider seeking their own legal advice as they consider appropriate.
The majority of children and young people who are considered to be Looked After will come into one of the following two categories.
The undernoted is a brief guide to the main parts of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 which governs many areas of a local authority's duties, powers and responsibilities in relation to Looked After children and young people and care leavers.
This section imposes a duty on local authorities towards children who are " Looked After" by them by ensuring that they safeguard and promote the child's welfare, promote contact with those who have parental responsibilities, whilst taking into account the views of the child. A further duty is the provision of advice and assistance with a view to preparing a child for when the child is no longer Looked After-often referred to as "throughcare".
This section sets out details regarding co-operation between authorities and other bodies to help in the exercise of their functions.
This section imposes a duty on local authorities to provide a range of services to children who are "in need". Such services should be offered to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child and to prepare young people for when they are no longer Looked After.
This section imposes a duty on local authorities to provide accommodation for children, if:
- No one has parental responsibility for them
- They are lost or abandoned
- The person who has been caring for them is prevented from providing suitable accommodation/care.
This section (entitled Aftercare) sets out the main local authority responsibilities, both duties and powers, to young people who leave the " Looked After" system following their school leaving age. Section 29 was amended on 1st April 2004 by the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001.
This section sets out when local authorities may give financial assistance towards the education or training expenses of those who have ceased to be Looked After following their school leaving age.
This section ensures that each child who is " Looked After" by the local authority has their case formally reviewed at regular intervals.
This section imposes a duty on local authorities to make initial inquiries, if information is received suggesting compulsory measures of supervision may be necessary for the child, i.e. a Children's Hearing report.
This provides a local authority with the power to apply to a Sheriff for a Child Assessment Order, where access to a child for the purposes of gathering information is denied.
This section provides the Reporter with the power to refer any case to the local authority for advice, guidance and assistance to a child and/or their family.This is commonly referred to as " Voluntary Supervision".
This section allows a Sheriff to make a " Child Protection Order" where there are grounds to believe that a child is being ill-treated, neglected or will suffer harm. Whilst any person may apply for such an order, this is normally pursued bySocial Work Services.
This section covers the disposal of a " Supervision Requirement" by a Children's Hearing, the 2 main sub-sections being:
70 (1). The supervision requirement would, in most circumstances, stipulate that the child continues to reside in the family home. The child would be deemed to be " Looked After at home" by the local authority; and:
70 (3). The Supervision Requirement would require the child to reside outwith their normal place of residence (i.e. place a condition of residence),e.g. a foster care placement, residential/children's unit, a residential school, a secure unit or a kinship placement. This child would be deemed to be " Looked After away from home".
This section imposes a duty on a local authority to give effect to the Supervision Requirement of a child decided by a Children's Hearing and to any conditions contained within the Requirement.
This section ensures that "no child shall continue to be subject to a Supervision Requirement for any period longer than is necessary in the interests of promoting or safeguarding his welfare". Section 73(2) ensures that no Requirement will remain in force for a period longer than one year without that Requirement being reviewed by a Children's Hearing.
This section provides the power for the local authority to apply to the Sheriff Court,to transfer parental rights and responsibilities to the local authority.