LOCAL AUTHORITY: Re C (Responsible Authority) [2005] EWHC 2939 (Fam)

20 JAN 2006

(Family Division; Sir Mark Potter P; 15 December 2005) [2006] 1 FLR 919

Following the placement of the children onto the Child Protection Register, the children moved to authority foster care with the mother's consent. Very shortly thereafter, the mother approached the authority to inform them that the paternal grandparents had offered to care for the children, and that she agreed with this course. Following a satisfactory authority assessment, the children moved to live with the paternal grandparents in a different authority area. Before the administrative transfer between authorities, the mother withdrew her consent to the voluntary accommodation of the children, and sought their return to her care. The issue arose whether the original authority or the new authority were the responsible authority. No care order had ever been made, although the original authority had made it clear that if the children were to be returned to the mother, they would seek a care order. The move to the grandparents was a private family arrangement approved by the original authority under its duty pursuant to Children Act 1989, s 23(6), not accommodation by either authority under s 23(2), indeed after the mother withdrew her consent to the voluntary accommodation, neither authority had a statutory basis for the accommodation of the children. The Fostering Services Regulations 2002 did not apply, and there was therefore no responsible authority under those regulations, but the new authority was the authority responsible for providing services appropriate to the children's needs because the children's settled residence in the new authority for 10 to 11 months had changed their ordinary residence.

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