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Child and the Law - Case Study Example

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The relevant legal duties which are owed by the local authority to Justin. The relevant procedures which will need to be followed in order that such a referral may be made in relation to Justin. The background context in relation to recent concerns about the education of children in local authority care…
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Child and the Law
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Download file to see previous pages The multiple needs of the child, together with the fact that he has been acting as a caregiver for his mother, make the case a multifaceted one in which several different agencies need to be involved. The basic duty of care towards Justin involves assuring he receives parental care or in loco parentis care, adequate educational opportunities and medical provisions for the "signs of depression" that might incapacitate him or even put his life in risk if they were allowed to develop into full-blown depression. All these facets need to be taken into account.
Taking each part of the account of Justin in turn, this analysis will first consider the "education supervision order" which he is under and also the fact that he has been "taken into care on a voluntary basis by Hoppingdean Social Services on a number of occasions". An education supervision order is an order that is granted by a family court under the provisions of section 36 of the Children Act, 1989. The Education Supervision Order (ESO) has a clear and compelling reasoning behind it. The ESO is designed to "ensure that the child receives an efficient full-time education, suitable to his or her age, ability and any Special Educational needs; and that the Child benefits fully from the education received" (cumbria, 2006).
At the present time it appears as though the general provisions of such an order are not being met for Justin. Thus the fact that his "frequent absences" have left him without the peer group vital for social development at this age, and that despite the "remedial work" being offered by the school he "has fallen far behind on his schoolwork" shows that he is clearly not receiving an efficient education. The blame for this cannot be put at the school's door, as they appear to be meeting Justin's needs as far as is feasible for a general Comprehensive school. Neither, under the exceptional circumstances within which the family is living, can the blame be put on the mother who is suffering from depression and alcoholism.
Normally the parents/parent would be required to attend a magistrate's court to discover why the elements of the ESO are not being met, but this would not be appropriate in this case. The question arises as to whether the fact that Justin has been taken into care on a number of occasions on a voluntary basis should offer the way forward: should Justin be taken into care on a full-time basis, thus transferring responsibility for the ESO onto the Local Authority Social Services Department. As it is the child exists in a kind of limbo in which no one agency, or his mother, is fully responsible for what is occurring to him. He clearly is not thriving within this situation, as his educational problems and initial signs of depression graphically illustrate. Some other action is needed.
The case of Justin could be seen as an embodiment of the need for some kind of integrated services for at risk children in the United Kingdom. It was the realization of this need that led to the creation of the Children's Trusts. The Trusts were created in order to keep up with the Children Act of 2004. As the National Evaluation of the Trusts suggests,
English Local Authorities and National Health Service organizations serving children, young people and families are expected to take steps to unify or co-ordinate these services . . . .Children's Trusts are the emerging framework in which improvements in outcomes for children and young people are to be brought ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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