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Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000

Section 23B

32.Section 23B sets out the duties of the responsible local authority towards relevant children.

33.Subsection 23B(1) places a duty on a local authority to keep in touch with relevant children, wherever they choose to live.

34.Subsection (2) requires the local authority to appoint a personal adviser for each relevant child, should they not already have done so.

35.By subsection (5) regulations may be made about the needs assessment which will inform the pathway plan required by subsection (3). Subsection (6) sets out some of the specific matters which may be prescribed in regulations. The assessment will be carried out in the context of subsection (8) which sets out the local authority’s duty to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare.

36.Subsection (8) establishes the local authority’s duty to meet the needs of a relevant child. The local authority must provide the child with maintenance and suitable accommodation. Other forms of support which may be appropriate may be prescribed in regulations. This Act aims to ensure that children leaving care can expect to receive the same sort of support from their responsible authority as a child might expect from his parents. This might be moral support or practical support.

37.Subsection (9) makes it clear that support for relevant children may be given in cash as well as in kind. Where appropriate such cash support may be given regularly; the circumstances need not be exceptional.

38.Subsection (10) allows regulations to be made about the meaning of suitable accommodation. The regulations will also provide for checks to be carried out on potential landlords or other providers of accommodation in the light of the vulnerability of these young people.

39.Subsection (11) places a duty on a local authority to take reasonable steps to trace a relevant child if they have lost touch with him. This duty applies until the child reaches his 18th birthday and so ceases to be a relevant child.

40.By subsection (12) section 17(7) to (9) of the Children Act is applied to assistance which may be given under this section. Sections 17(7) to (9) require the local authority to take account of the means of the child and his parents, and permit the local authority, depending on their means, to require some or all of this assistance to be repaid.

41.Subsection (13) provides that subsections (4) and (5) of section 22 of the Children Act apply to decisions taken under section 23B. This means that the local authority must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ascertain and give due consideration to the wishes and feelings of the child, his parents and other people deemed to be relevant in his case, and must give due consideration to the child’s religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background.

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