Commentary on Sections

Part 6 - Looked after and Accommodated Children

Section 78 - Principal duty of a local authority in relation to looked after children

252.Section 78 requires a local authority looking after a child to safeguard and promote the child's well-being. A local authority also has obligations to make use of services for the benefit of a looked after child, that are available for children cared for by their own parents, where it is reasonable to do so.

253.Subsection (3) requires a local authority, before it makes any decision about a child whom it is or is proposing to look after, in addition to its duty to have regard to the considerations within sections 6 and 7 of the Act (which set out the overarching duties of a local authority when exercising functions under the Act), to have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of anyone the authority deems relevant and to take in to account the child's religion, race, culture and language.

254.A local authority may exercise its duties with respect to a child otherwise than in accordance with its duties under this section (or section 6) if it is necessary to do so for the purposes of protecting members of the public from serious injury.