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(Queen's Bench Division, Administrative Court; Michael Supperstone QC sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court; 29 October 2008)
The teenage girl was referred to the local authority's children and families' team because of concerns about her school attendance. The girl's stepfather had parental responsibility for her, but she did not spend much time in his care. The authority became aware that the girl was in fact living with her boyfriend's mother, and arranged a planning meeting to discuss her future. Shortly afterwards, the step-father died; after discussions with the authority the boyfriend's mother indicated that she was willing to look after the girl on a long-term basis. The boyfriend's mother then applied for fostering allowance in respect of the girl, but was refused on the basis that the girl was not a 'looked after child' for the purposes of Children Act 1989, s 22(1).
The local authority had been under a duty to provide accommodation for the child, under Children Act 1989, s 20, and had organised a placement for the child with the boyfriend's mother. The authority was therefore obliged to pay the boyfriend's mother the appropriate weekly fostering allowance.
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