The misuse and abuse of Section 20 of the Children Act 1989

McHale, Anna (2017) The misuse and abuse of Section 20 of the Children Act 1989. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

[img] Text
2017006.v2.pdf - Submitted Version
Restricted to Registered users only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (721kB)


Currently, the use of section 20 is reported widely in the media. Articles are reporting on the misuse and abuse of voluntary arrangements, and how Local Authorities may be using unlawful practise. This study will explore published literature to evaluate if s.20 is being misused, and why this might be happening; with the hope to change the researcher’s attitude about how this piece of legislation is used. Eleven studies are analysed and explored to gain a deeper understanding around the use of s.20 by Local Authorities in England. Common themes were found within these studies: unintentional misuse, parental consent and permanence. It was found that social workers within Local Authorities are faced with many conflicting pressures, some of these include tight timeframes, caseloads, staff levels, lack of resources, attempting to keep children with their families as well as keeping them safe and supported and also working in accordance with key policy and guidance. The literature suggested that social workers may not have the time or resources to keep on track of all cases; so the children left in voluntary placements may not be receiving much service at all. Gaining parental consent before accommodating a child under s.20 is mandatory within law; however, this review showed that some workers are gaining consent unethically, and not ensuring the parent knows exactly what they are agreeing to. This study will evaluate how social workers are gaining this consent, and the reasons behind the decisions they make. The final theme will analyse how these decisions can affect a child’s stability and permanence. Research found that placements were not reviewed as regularly as they should be, and children were returned home where no change or problems were resolved. Consequently, children are moved multiple times in and out of care and then placed with different foster carers, decreasing their chance of achieving permanence. This study found several implications for social work practise, and further recommendations for further work.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BA (Hons) Social Work
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Departments > Social Work
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Wendy Ellison
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 12:36
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 12:36

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item