Looked-after children should be able to use the full range of powers to apply for residence and contact orders with carers if they are unhappy with councils’ decision to change their placements, according to a children’s rights expert.
Mike Lindsay, head of advice in the office of England’s children’s rights director, Roger Morgan, said the Children Act 1989 should be amended so children in care could use all measures available under section 8 of the legislation.
This enables children to apply for contact, residence and prohibited steps orders but, apart from in the case of residence orders, does not apply to looked-after children.
Lindsay said these powers would be more effective than looked-after children going through local authority complaints procedures or taking their cases to independent reviewing officers, who are charged with ensuring councils act in accordance with care plans.
He said good corporate parents should have no fears from the proposal, and urged social care professionals to respond to the consultation on the green paper on children in care with the suggestion.
Lindsay said: “If the intention behind the green paper is greater accountability, we think it’s a bit light on accountability directly to the child.
“We would argue that the ability to make applications for section 8 orders would be a much better and more effective way than going through the appeals process.”