Section 20 Provision of accommodation for children: general
- Every local authority shall provide accommodation for any child in need within their area who appears to them to require accommodation as a result of—
- there being no person who has parental responsibility for him;
- his being lost or having been abandoned; or
- the person who has been caring for him being prevented (whether or not permanently, and for whatever reason) from providing him with suitable accommodation or care.
- Where a local authority provide accommodation under subsection (1) for a child who is ordinarily resident in the area of another local authority, that other local authority may take over the provision of accommodation for the child within—
(a) three months of being notified in writing that the child is being provided with accommodation; or
(b) such other longer period as may be prescribed [F1in regulations made by the Secretary of State].
- [F2(2A) Where a local authority in Wales provide accommodation under section 76(1) of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (accommodation for children without parents or who are lost or abandoned etc. ) for a child who is ordinarily resident in the area of a local authority in England, that local authority in England may take over the provision of accommodation for the child within—
- three months of being notified in writing that the child is being provided with accommodation; or
- such other longer period as may be prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State.]
- Every local authority shall provide accommodation for any child in need within their area who has reached the age of sixteen and whose welfare the authority consider is likely to be seriously prejudiced if they do not provide him with accommodation.
- A local authority may provide accommodation for any child within their area (even though a person who has parental responsibility for him is able to provide him with accommodation) if they consider that to do so would safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.
- A local authority may provide accommodation for any person who has reached the age of sixteen but is under twenty-one in any community home which takes children who have reached the age of sixteen if they consider that to do so would safeguard or promote his welfare.
Before providing accommodation under this section, a local authority shall, so far as is reasonably practicable and consistent with the child’s welfare—
- ascertain the child’s wishes [F3and feelings] regarding the provision of accommodation; and
- give due consideration (having regard to his age and understanding) to such wishes [F3and feelings] of the child as they have been able to ascertain.
- A local authority may not provide accommodation under this section for any child if any person who—
- has parental responsibility for him; and
- is willing and able to—
- provide accommodation for him; or
- arrange for accommodation to be provided for him, objects.
- Any person who has parental responsibility for a child may at any time remove the child from accommodation provided by or on behalf of the local authority under this section.
- Subsections (7) and (8) do not apply while any person—
- [F4 who is named in a child arrangements order as a person with whom the child is to live;]
- [F5(aa)who is a special guardian of the child; or]
- who has care of the child by virtue of an order made in the exercise of the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction with respect to children,
agrees to the child being looked after in accommodation provided by or on behalf of the local authority.
- Where there is more than one such person as is mentioned in subsection (9), all of them must agree.
- Subsections (7) and (8) do not apply where a child who has reached the age of sixteen agrees to being provided with accommodation under this section
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