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Children Act 1989

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17 Provision of services for children in need, their families and others.E+W

(1)It shall be the general duty of every local authority (in addition to the other duties imposed on them by this Part)—

(a)to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need; and

(b)so far as is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families,

by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those children’s needs.

(2)For the purpose principally of facilitating the discharge of their general duty under this section, every local authority shall have the specific duties and powers set out in Part 1 of Schedule 2.

(3)Any service provided by an authority in the exercise of functions conferred on them by this section may be provided for the family of a particular child in need or for any member of his family, if it is provided with a view to safeguarding or promoting the child’s welfare.

(4)The [F1appropriate national authority] may by order amend any provision of Part I of Schedule 2 or add any further duty or power to those for the time being mentioned there.

[F2(4A)Before determining what (if any) services to provide for a particular child in need in the exercise of functions conferred on them by this section, a local authority shall, so far as is reasonably practicable and consistent with the child’s welfare—

(a)ascertain the child’s wishes and feelings regarding the provision of those services; and

(b)give due consideration (having regard to his age and understanding) to such wishes and feelings of the child as they have been able to ascertain.]

(5)Every local authority—

(a)shall facilitate the provision by others (including in particular voluntary organisations) of services which [F3“it is a function of the authority] to provide by virtue of this section, or section 18, 20, [F4[F5“22A to 22C] , 23B to 23D, 24A or 24B]; and

(b)may make such arrangements as they see fit for any person to act on their behalf in the provision of any such service.

(6)The services provided by a local authority in the exercise of functions conferred on them by this section may include [F6providing accommodation and] giving assistance in kind or F7. . . in cash.

(7)Assistance may be unconditional or subject to conditions as to the repayment of the assistance or of its value (in whole or in part).

(8)Before giving any assistance or imposing any conditions, a local authority shall have regard to the means of the child concerned and of each of his parents.

(9)No person shall be liable to make any repayment of assistance or of its value at any time when he is in receipt of income support [F8under][F9 Part VII of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992,][F10 of any element of child tax credit other than the family element, of working tax credit][F11[F12, of an income-based jobseeker's allowance or of an income-related employment and support allowance]].

(10)For the purposes of this Part a child shall be taken to be in need if—

(a)he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him of services by a local authority under this Part;

(b)his health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for him of such services; or

(c)he is disabled,

and “family”, in relation to such a child, includes any person who has parental responsibility for the child and any other person with whom he has been living.

(11)For the purposes of this Part, a child is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be prescribed; and in this Part—

  • development” means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development; and

  • health” means physical or mental health.

[F13(12)The Treasury may by regulations prescribe circumstances in which a person is to be treated for the purposes of this Part (or for such of those purposes as are prescribed) as in receipt of any element of child tax credit other than the family element or of working tax credit.]

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Amendments (Textual)

F2S. 17(4A) inserted (1.3.2005 for E. and 1.4.2006 for W.) by Children Act 2004 (c. 31), s. 53(1); S.I. 2005/394, art. 2(1)(g); S.I. 2006/885, art. 2(2)

F3Words in s. 17(5)(a) substituted (1.4.2011 for E. and otherwise prosp.) by Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (c. 23), ss. 8(2), 44, Sch. 1 para. 1(a); S.I. 2010/2981, art. 4(a)

F4Words in s. 17(5)(a) substituted (1.10.2001) by 2000 c. 35, s. 7(2); S.I. 2001/2191, art. 2; S.I. 2001/2878, art. 2

F5Words in s. 17(5)(a) substituted (1.4.2011 for E. and otherwise prosp.) by Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (c. 23), ss. 8(2), 44, Sch. 1 para. 1(b); S.I. 2010/2981, art. 4(a)

F6Words in s. 17(6) inserted (7.11.2002) by 2002 c. 38, ss. 116(1), 148(1) (with Sch. 4 paras. 6-8)

F7Words in s. 17(6) repealed (1.4.2011 for E. and otherwise prosp.) by Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (c. 23), ss. 24, 42, 44, Sch. 4; S.I. 2010/2981, art. 4(l)

F8Words in s. 17(9) substituted (6.4.2003) by 2002 c. 21, ss. 47, 61, Sch. 3 para. 16(2)(a); S.I. 2003/962, art. 2(3)(d)(iii) (subject to savings and transitional provisions in arts. 3, 4)

F10Words in s. 17(9) inserted (6.4.2003) by 2002 c. 21, ss. 47, 61, Sch. 3 para. 16(2)(b); S.I. 2003/962, art. 2(3)(d)(iii) (subject to savings and transitional provisions in arts. 3, 4)

F13S. 17(12) inserted (6.4.2003) by 2002 c. 21, ss. 47, 61, Sch. 3 para. 16(3); S.I. 2003/962, art. 2(3)(d)(iii) (subject to savings and transitional provisions in arts. 3, 4)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1s. 17 excluded (6.12.1999) by S.I. 1999/3056, reg. 12

C2S. 17 restricted (8.1.2003) by 2002 c. 41, s. 54, Sch. 3 (with s. 159); S.I. 2002/2811, art. 2, Sch.

Commencement Information

I1S. 17 wholly in force at 14.10.1991 see s. 108(2)(3) and S.I. 1991/828, art. 3(2)

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