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Local Authorities must go out of their way

Local Authorities must go out of their way to secure education and accommodation for looked after children with complex needs.

This time last year, a young lady with complex special educational needs sought Judicial Review against her Local Authority due to them not finding her a suitable educational provision or arranging suitable living accommodation for her. Her mother acted as her litigation friend.  The young lady concerned was a Looked After Child and was living in a residential placement.

The owner of the placement gave notice to end the placement and the young lady returned to live with her mother. This was supposed to be for a one-week period. However, over the following months the Local Authority failed to find her a suitable placement. Following Judicial Review, the High Court ruled in her favour and ordered the Local Authority to find suitable education and accommodation within 30 days.

The main implication of this case is that Local Authorities must demonstrate that they have done all they can to secure alternative education and accommodation for a child/young person with complex needs if their placement breaks down.

With regard to a Looked After Child, they can be accommodated in their parents’ home but Local Authorities cannot rely on this if the placement has broken down. If a child has complex needs and is a Looked After Child, it is unlikely they will return to the family home unless there is a change in circumstance due to the family not being able to meet their needs.

If you feel that your child’s needs aren’t being met within their educational placement, or you are struggling to give your child the support they need within the home then please contact me on rwhippy@rebeccawhippysend.com for a free chat.