Scotland's Children - The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 Regulations and Guidance: Volume 1 Support and Protection for Children and Their Families

Guidance and regulations on the Children (Scotland) Act 1995

Scotland's Children
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 Regulations and Guidance
Volume 1 Support and Protection for Children and Their Families

Chapter 4 Providing Accommodation

Provision and use

1. The Act provides for local authorities to offer accommodation for a child as a service which parents may seek to take up voluntarily as long as this is in the best interests of the child. Local authorities have a duty to provide accommodation for a child when

  • no one has parental responsibility for him or her
  • he or she is lost or abandoned or
  • the person who has been caring for him or her is prevented, whether or not permanently and for whatever reason, from providing him or her with suitable accommodation or care.

"Accommodation" means accommodation provided for a continuous period of more than twenty-four hours.

Section 25

2. In addition the local authority has the power to provide accommodation for any child within their area if this would safeguard or promote his or her welfare.

Section 25(2)

3. The local authority also has the power to provide accommodation for a young adult who is at least eighteen years of age but not yet twenty-one years old if they consider that to do so would safeguard or promote his or her welfare.

Section 25(3)

4. The local authority cannot provide accommodation for a child if any person who has parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child and is willing and able to provide, or arrange, alternative accommodation for him or her, objects. In these circumstances if the child is already accommodated such a person may remove the child from local authority accommodation at any time, unless the child has been accommodated for a period of at least six months, in which case fourteen days notice in writing must be given. The power to remove the child does not apply if he or she is over sixteen years of age and agrees to being provided with accom-modation, or if there is a residence order in respect of the child and the person(s) in whose favour the residence order is made have agreed that the child should be looked after in accommodation provided by the local authority.

Section 25(6)

5. The local authority may provide accommodation by placing the child with a family, other than his or her own family within the meaning of the Act, a relative of the child or any other suitable person; placing him or her in a residential establish-ment or making any other appropriate arrangement. Such an arrangement might entail making use of services that would normally be available to a child cared for by his or her parents. Accommodation may be provided as part of a package of services designed to support the parents and increase their capacity and confidence to continue meeting their child's needs and resume his or her care.

Section 26

Respite Services

6. Respite services are an important part of the range of services that should be available to help families with children in need. They are particularly relevant to helping children with disabilities but can also meet other needs, for example to provide a child's parents or carers under stress with a break where the absence of such support might lead to breakdown of the usual arrangements for the child's care. Respite services can extend the range and quality of a child's experience and give him or her opportunities to develop increasing autonomy and independence. Existing guidance on respite care arrangements for adults sets out a framework for the development of local respite care services and is applicable to developing respite services for children. 1

7. Respite services for children outside their own home will include alternative family care, perhaps in fostering schemes, residential care or provision in day care and other community settings. Creative use of provision might include the development of schemes to enable a family to be given residential respite together, to enable parents to have a break from care and other responsibilities without necessarily being separated from their child.

8. Where for the purpose of respite a child stays away from home for a continuous period of more than twenty-four hours he or she is being provided with accommoda-tion and the local authority has additional duties towards him or her as a child who is looked after by them.

Section 25
Section 17(6)

1 Circular No. SWSG 10/96 DD 7/96

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