Don't know if you are aware or not, but if you apply for an EHCP plan for your child and if you want your child to go to a specialist residential school that can cater for their needs, they have to become LAC in order to have the school fees paid for which can be in the region of £200,000pa.
This has to happen, even if it's only for weekly boarding (38weeks a year).
It is a Section 20, a voltantary arrangement where you supposedly have full parental responsibility.
I say supposedly, as SS will be heavily involved and can and do over rule parents, as has happened to me in the past.
If however, they go as a day pupil, they do not have to become LAC and can remain CIN.
Funny how my delightful SW forgot to mention that option when we were discussing schooling options where she was pushing for 52 week residential.
Just thought I'd post about it in case any of you were considering it and looking at specialist residential schools out of your area.
Hi JMK LO is at a residential school. SW made it very clear that she would become a Looked After Child and has been very cold and matter of fact about it (the school on the other hand has been brilliant at handholding and supporting us). However, we have not been asked to sign any paperwork to this effect. Do you know anything about this?
If the LA are paying her fees and have made her a LAC for this to happen, you should have had all of this explained to you in detail and you should have been asked to sign a Section 20 agreement listing out your legal and parental rights etc.
l would question this immediately and ask to see the paperwork as you really need to see what you have verbally agreed to, on paper in case things should go pear shaped.
I don't mean to worry you, but you have handed her over into LA's care without having anything on paper beforehand to check out your rights. Odd.
Yes residential school starts with being a section 20. But this can only last for 6 months & then ss have to either show they are reuniting your child with you & child is coming home permanently or they have to go to court to ask judge for full care order section 31.
This is a legal requirement , directed from Family Courts , after JUdge Munby decided section 20's were too lax & children languished on them without proper plans.
Our daughter is on section 20 - has been for 14 months and ss now informed us this can't continue and we are being taken to court.
see other threads I have posted.
why do our children have to be subjected to this?
Other people send their kids to boarding school without a second thought - some have bursaries, some have scholarships, some have rich parents that pay.
We all have vulnerable children and have to have them 'taken away'.
It does untold damage to already traumatised children.
where is the evidence base for this law applied to the types of children we parent?
This is why I started this thread to alert others to the way LA's operate and how they can persuade us to agree to 'voluntary' Section 20, without telling us the whole story and that the rules have changed etc.
YDD's SW is still trying to do this to me. We are applying for an EHCP plan for DD to get her into a specialist ASD school and SW is trying to get me to agree to her being a LAC, Section 20, and I am saying no, I want her to be a day pupil so that I have full parental rights and do not have to share parental responsibility with the LA as I do not trust them an inch.
SW is either witholding this information from me, waiting until I agree and then after 6 months, "surprise, did I not mention she has to become Section 31 in order to stay at the school"? Either that, or she is so thick she doesn't understand the rules herself and knowing her it could be the latter and that would not surprise me in the least. (I am constantly staying a step ahead of her by doing my own research).
Nzhb, if I were you, I would start looking for a school nearer to home, where DD could commute as a day pupil so she can remain CIN status (although CIN only goes up to 16) but that way you would have full parental responsibility and the EHCP would still pay the school fees and a taxi to take her there and back every day. The fees for this are far less than weekly residential, so they can't complaint about taxi fares, assuming journey is not more than an hour or so each way. It has got to be realistic as you wouldn't want DD travelling 3/4 hours each way.
Thanks for adding your experiences Nzhb. Very helpful.
This is the problem, SS aren't always upfront when asking parents to agree to their kids becoming LAC in order to access education and I think sometimes their intentions are not honourable or in the best interests of the child. They sometimes have ulterior motives.
How can parents make informed choices if they are not being given all of the facts upfront?