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Defend Children's Rights in Care

Children’s rights charity Article 39 formally threatened legal action against the Department for Education on 7th May 2020, if it does not withdraw a statutory instrument which makes sweeping changes to safeguards for children in care in England. The Government has been given 14 days to respond.

Article 39 stated:

The letter before action claims the government has acted unlawfully in its failure to consult on the changes and in not giving any time for Parliamentary scrutiny. The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus)(Amendment) Regulations 2020 (statutory instrument 445) remove or weaken 65 children’s safeguards, without any evidence of their connection to the current serious health crisis. 

We focus our claim on six specific changes:

  • The dilution of duties relating to social worker visits to children in care, where even a six-weekly telephone call is no longer mandatory;
  • The removal of the duty to hold six-monthly reviews of children in care;
  • The loss of safeguards for children placed out of area with people who are not connected to them;The loss of safeguards in relation to short breaks, particularly affecting disabled children; 
  • The loss of independent scrutiny (pre-court stage) and other safeguards in adoption and
  • The dilution of the duty on children’s homes to ensure independent visits and reports on children’s welfare there.Article 39 is calling on the government to withdraw the statutory instrument with immediate effect and to give an assurance that any new regulations will be subject to proper consultation, Parliamentary scrutiny and children’s human rights and equality impact assessments.

Carolyne Willow, Article 39’s Director, explains more in the following film:

To read more and to support and sign Article 39's statement please visit: