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What does the Local Authority mean when they say my child is out of parental control?

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If the Local Authority has become involved with your family because your child is considered to be ‘out of parental control’, they may be exhibiting risky behaviour that is putting them or is likely to put them at risk of significant harm. This behaviour may not be due to any fault of your own as a parent, but still means the Local Authority can get involved to try to prevent your child from coming to any harm, even if it be by their own volition. Often you will see the word ‘neglect’ or ‘at risk of significant harm’ – this does not necessarily mean that you have neglected your child, it is simply that neglect covers all aspects of that and is the most broad ranging category as all the other categories refer more specifically to different types of abuse.

The Local Authority may put your child on a Child In Need (CIN) Plan if there is reasonable cause to believe that they are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm as a result of their behaviour. A CIN assessment will identify the needs of your child and ensure that you are given the appropriate support in enabling them to safeguard and promote their welfare.  

Alternatively, you child may be put on a Child Protection (CP) Plan. Similar to a CIN plan, this would assess the likelihood of the child suffering harm and look at the ways they can be protected, but allows the Local Authority to look into this in greater detail and decide upon short and long term goals to further reduce the likelihood of harm to the child and protect their welfare.

The Local Authority can make referrals for you and your child to receive help with establishing boundaries.  You may be referred to attend Family Functioning Therapy (FFT), which supports the reduction of disruptive communication patterns and helps you to focus on positive interactions with your child, as well as providing effective supervision and boundary setting.

In more severe cases, or where alternative options have not been successful, the Local Authority may ask you to sign a Section 20 Agreement. Signing this means that you consent to your child being accommodated by the Local Authority. You are entitled to withdraw your consent at any time and the Local Authority must then either return your child home or issue care proceedings to place the child in foster placement or secure residential unit to ensure their safety.

If you or anyone you know are in a position as outlined above, or require any assistance with social services, please contact our specialist Care Team on 0116 2554855 or 01509610312.