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paying the price for children in care

6 October 2011

There are an increasing number of claims being made against local authorities for failing to take children into care. Whether or not a duty is owed to each particular child depends on the facts of the case – the closeness of the relationship between the authority and the child, the forseeability of harm, and whether it’s “just and reasonable” to impose a duty of care.

Cash strapped local authorities are now considering charging parents who put their children into voluntary care.

Both the arguments for and against such a policy are understandable. It’s been done in the past, but in the current climate there’s a risk that immediate savings will be more than set off in addressing future claims from children whose families descend into damaging crisis because the parents refused to pay for voluntary care.

If there is a change of policy it needs to be clearly stated, followed up with well evidenced clear and regular staff training, and closely policed.

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