Child Care Act 1980

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1980 c. 5


Child Care Act 1980

1980 CHAPTER 5

An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to the care of children by local authorities or voluntary organisations and certain other enactments relating to the care of children.

[31st January 1980]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Powers and Duties of Local Authorities in Relation to the Welfare and Care of Children

Part I

Powers and Duties of Local Authorities in Relation tothe Welfare and Care of Children

General duty of local authorities to promote welfare of children

General duty of local authorities to promote welfare of children

S-1 Duty of local authorities to promote welfare of children.

1 Duty of local authorities to promote welfare of children.

(1) It shall be the duty of every local authority to make available such advice, guidance and assistance as may promote the welfare of children by diminishing the need to receive children into or keep them in care under this Act or to bring children before a juvenile court; and any provisions made by a local authority under this subsection may, if the local authority think fit, include provision for giving assistance in kind or, in exceptional circumstances, in cash.

(2) In carrying out their duty under subsection (1) above, a local authority may make arrangements with voluntary organisations or other persons for the provision by those organisations or other persons of such advice, guidance or assistance as is mentioned in that subsection.

(3) Where any provision which may be made by a local authority under section (1) above is made (whether by that or any other authority) under any other enactment, the local authority shall not be required to make the provision under this section but shall have power to do so.

(4) In this section ‘child’ means a person under the age of eighteen.

Duty of local authorities to assume care of orphans and deserted children etc.

Duty of local authorities to assume care of orphans and deserted children etc.

S-2 Duty of local authority to provide for orphans, deserted children etc.

2 Duty of local authority to provide for orphans, deserted children etc.

(1) Where it appears to a local authority with respect to a child in their area appearing to them to be under the age of seventeen—

(a ) that he has neither parent nor guardian or has been and remains abandoned by his parents or guardian or is lost; or

(b ) that his parents or guardian are, for the time being or permanently, prevented by reason of mental or bodily disease or infirmity or other incapacity or any other circumstances from providing for his proper accommodation, maintenance and upbringing; and

(c ) in either case, that the intervention of the local authority under this section is necessary in the interests of the welfare of the child,

it shall be the duty of the local authority to receive the child into their care under this section.

(2) Where a local authority have received a child into their care under this section, it shall, subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act, be their duty to keep the child in their care so long as the welfare of the child appears to them to require it and the child has not attained the age of eighteen.

(3) Nothing in this section shall authorise a local authority to keep a child in their care under this section if any parent or guardian desires to take over the care of the child, and the local authority shall, in all cases where it appears to them consistent with the welfare of the child so to do, endeavour to secure that the care of the child is taken over either—

(a ) by a parent or guardian of his, or

(b ) by a relative or friend of his, being, where possible, a person of the same religious persuasion as the child or who gives an undertaking that the child will be brought up in that religious persuasion.

(4) Where a local authority receive into their care under this section a child who is then ordinarily resident in the area of another local authority—

(a ) that other local authority may at any time not later than three months after the determination (whether by agreement between the authorities or in accordance with the following provisions of this subsection) of the ordinary residence of the child, or with the concurrence of the first mentioned authority at any subsequent time, take over the care of the child; and

(b ) the first mentioned authority may recover from the other authority any expenses duly incurred by them under Part III of this Act in respect of the child (including any expenses so incurred after he has ceased to be a child and, if the other authority takes over the care of him, including also any travelling or other expenses incurred in connection with the taking over).

Any question arising under this subsection as to the ordinary residence of a child shall be determined by the Secretary of State and in this subsection any reference to another local authority includes a reference to a local authority within the meaning of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 .

(5) In determining for the purposes of subsection (4) above the ordinary residence of any child, any period during which he resides in any place—

(a ) as an inmate of a school or other institution, or

(b ) in accordance with the requirements of a supervision order or probation order or of a supervision requirement, or

(c ) in accordance with the conditions of a recognisance, or

(d ) while boarded out under this Act, the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937 or Part II of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 by a local authority or education authority,

shall be disregarded.

(6) Any reference in this section to the parents or guardian of a child shall be construed as a reference to all the persons who are parents of the child or who are guardians of the child.

S-3 Assumption by local authority of parental rights and duties.

3 Assumption by local authority of parental rights and duties.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act, if it appears to a local authority in relation to any child who is in their care under section 2 of this Act—

(a ) that his parents are dead and he has no guardian or custodian; or

(b ) that a parent of his—

(i) has abandoned him, or

(ii) suffers from some permanent disability rendering him incapable of caring for the child, or

(iii)while not falling within sub-paragraph (ii) of this paragraph, suffers from a mental disorder (withinthe meaning of the Mental Health Act 1959), which renders him unfit to have the care of the child, or

(iv) is of such habits or mode of life as to be unfit to have the care of the child, or

(v) has so consistently failed without reasonable cause to discharge the obligations of a parent as to be unfit to have the care of the child; or

(c ) that a resolution under paragraph (b ) of this subsection is in force in relation to one parent of the child who is, or is likely to become, a member of the household comprising the child and his other parent; or

(d ) that throughout the three years preceding the passing of the resolution the child has been in the care of a local authority under section 2 of this Act, or partly in the care of a local authority and partly in the care of a voluntary organisation,

the local authority may resolve that there shall vest in them the parental rights and duties with respect to that child, and, if the rights and duties were vested in the parent on whose account the resolution was passed jointly with another person, they shall also be vested in the local authority jointly with that other person.

(2) In the case of a resolution passed under paragraph (b ) (c ) or (d ) of subsection (1) above, unless the person whose parental rights and duties have under the resolution vested in the local authority has consented in writing to the passing of the resolution, the local authority, if that person's whereabouts are known to them, shall forthwith after the passing of the resolution serve on him notice in writing of the passing thereof.

(3) Every notice served by a local authority under subsection (2) above shall inform the person on whom the notice is served of his right to object to the resolution and the effect of any objection made by him.

(4) If, not later than one month after notice is served on a person under subsection (2) above, he serves a counter-notice in writing on the local authority objecting to the resolution, the resolution shall, subject to the provisions of subsections (5) and (6) below, lapse on the expiry of fourteen days from the service of the counter-notice.

(5) Where a counter-notice has been served on a local authority under subsection (4) above, the authority may not later than fourteen days after the receipt by them of the counter-notice complain to a juvenile court having jurisdiction in the area of the authority, and in that event the resolution shall not lapse until the determination of the complaint.

(6) On hearing a complaint made under subsection (5) above the court may if it is satisfied—

(a ) that the grounds mentioned in subsection (1) above on which the local authority purported to pass the resolution were made out, and

(b ) that at the time of the hearing there continue to be grounds on which a resolution under that subsection could be founded, and

(c ) that it is in the interests of the child to do so,

order that the resolution shall not lapse by reason of the service of the counter-notice.

(7) Any notice under this section (including a counter-notice) may be served by post, so however that a notice served by a local authority under subsection (2) above...

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