Friday, June 26, 2020

Article 39 wins right to challenge reduction in protection of children in care

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
The High Court has granted the children’s rights charity Article 39 a judicial review of the Department for Education’s removal and dilution of legal protections for children in care.

These changes were announced overnight in April with the Covid-19 pandemic given as the reason, yet DfE has been trying to bring in some of these changes for several years.

Given the seriousness of the changes and the vulnerability of the affected children, Article 39 asked the court for the case to be expedited. This was also agreed by the court, and the  hearing will take place on 27 and 28 July.

Carolyne Willow, the charity's director, told the Independent:
"We know from past tragedies that too often children’s suffering goes hidden until it is too late and the harm has been done.

"Before the pandemic, at least half of local authorities were struggling to meet their statutory children’s social care duties – as judged by Ofsted – and councils have been saying for years that they are desperate for funds.

"Ministers should have been focused on ensuring local authorities had the financial support they needed to keep children in care safe and protected, rather than dismantling safeguards."
One requirement lifted – for a six-monthly review of a child’s care – dates from the death of 12-year-old Dennis O'Neill at a farm in Shropshire in 1945.

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