researching reform More Councils Using Section 20 Arrangements To Keep Children In Care Illegally

More Councils Using Section 20 Arrangements To Keep Children In Care Illegally

A damning judgment has revealed that another council is using Section 20 Agreements – which are intended to be voluntary – to force children into care indefinitely. 

Herefordshire county council kept a boy in state care for his whole life without getting the consent of a court, which is required by law. The judge identified 14 other children in the council’s care who had been separated from their parents and placed in care for inappropriate periods of time.

In his judgment, Judge Keehan said he had never before come across a situation in which a council had “so seriously and serially failed to address the needs of the children in its care, and so seriously misused, and indeed abused” its statutory powers.

Unlike Judge Keehan, we have often seen Section 20 Agreements being used illegally, across a number of councils. The practice is so common that in 2015, President of the Family Division James Munby, issued a Guidance Note, explicitly forbidding councils from using S.20s to unlawfully detain children in state care.  And in April of last year, the malpractice had become so severe, that a collective of child welfare professionals launched an investigation into how Section 20 Agreements were being misused.

The investigation concluded that in many cases featuring a S.20 Agreement, the parents did not have access to free, independent legal advice and there was no court scrutiny of the decision.

Section 20 agreements are meant to be voluntary arrangements between the state, the family and their child, which allows a child to access temporary accommodation where the family are finding it hard to manage their relationship with their child, or take care of them. As these are voluntary arrangements, parents can remove their children any time they wish from the temporary accommodation offered, and children too have the right to leave whenever they want, without notice. However, councils have neglected to tell parents and children about their rights, and have even used these agreements to coerce parents into handing their children over to the state.

This abuse has been made possible because of a lax approach by government in regulating these agreements, and councils wilfully exploiting the loopholes in S.20 agreements to secure the number of children placed in their care. This is particularly beneficial to councils who work to adoption targets, which are financially incentivised.

Despite the obvious flaw surrounding the issue of consent – local authorities are just ignoring the fact that these agreements are voluntary, and failing to tell families this is the case – the Supreme Court ruled in February of last year that councils did not have a legal duty to inform parents that the agreements were not mandatory.  Had the judges overseeing this case understood that the duty existed – councils are providing accommodation which is fundamentally a temporary service – they could have stopped this illegal activity by ruling that there is in fact a duty on councils to share this information.

Exasperated with the court’s judgment, families going through the child welfare system decided to take matters into their own hands. Family activist, Michele Simmons created her own S.20 Consent Forms, which have become so popular that they have been downloaded several thousand times since their publication.

This latest case is a sharp reminder that S.20 Agreements are still in desperate need of regulation. If the courts won’t commit to protecting vulnerable families under these arrangements, perhaps the government will consider issuing legislation that ensures all councils must tell parents, and children where possible, their rights under Section 20.

Further Reading:

Many thanks to Maggie Tuttle for alerting us to this case.





  1. Reblogged this on tummum’s Blog.


  2. Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    Another damning indictment of the commoditisation of children for profit by the corporate parent. Misappropriation of s20 arrangements in this way is undue influence. Any taking of children into state care is a temporary measure to be discontinued as soon as circumstances permit. This requires periodic effective monitoring. LA’s marking their own homework falls way short of the benchmarks to ensure best interests, welfare and family human rights are respected, engaged and secured in practice.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. [Name Withheld}said:

    They did this to me took my children under the misuse of a ppo then didn’t return them then they gave kids to my mum didn’t take me to court 2 yrs later I went to court had to give my mum child arrangements order so she could get children medical attention if needed 4 yrs later im still fighting for my children back & now hope when I go back to court they will dismiss the child arrangements order ss are now trying to give my mum an sgo & put a barring order on me from applying to the courts

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your comment, I’m so sorry about what happened to you and your family. I’ve edited your name for legal reasons and to protect you from any potential impact of posting your experience on the site.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Maggie tuttlesaid:

    When a child is taken into care they are in most cases dragged away screaming and begging to stay with their parents if it is a new born they have no say what so ever, so with an older child from day one they are put to live with strangers then they have to see a GP an optician and a dentist, they are also allocated a Cafcass person a social worker and an advocate then most children have to be seen by all different philologist and psychiatrist, and also awarded a solicitor from the court to be another voice, in the mean time the child is all alone in fear and is not aware why they have been taken from their families, so not only do the foster and adoption agency make untold money per child now add on all of the people who have become involved in a child’s life, as for a child having a voice and telling all what THEY WANT it does not happen, when a child sees and speaks to a judge, kids are told what to say and again they are in fear, why do you think that on a contact most are supervised with families and the children are told what they can and not say, with many lies written that the family said this or that and then contact is stopped, Children are even afraid to call their families so a child is all alone with most of their personal possessions with the family, and if at school the foster carers search the child’s bedroom look into their computers and phones and should a child try to speak out it is all back to fear and alone and in trouble for speaking out. With untold charities for children then why do they allow the kids to in be fear, sadly one kid taken into care cost a fortune, i have spoken to so many kids from care that there is a lot more i could say but nothing will change to many people involved in one kids life and only to be abused mentally and physically.
    The truth is with the Nation and the kids are the future Nation shame grandparents are not given any rights as grandparents plant the seeds for the next generation.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I am so pleased to see my document has already helped thousands of parents and in turn must have helped thousands of children too? Let’s hope and pray it can help thousands more. I am now of the strong belief these (alleged) forced adoptions are exactly that. How many parents they call natural/birth parents have been in the position to know the (alleged) adopter(s) details so they can go on to request a copy of the child’s adoption certificate? Not many i bet, because their identity is often concealed. For the ones who do, it would be interesting to see how many are informed by the GRO that the entry for their child’s (alleged) adoption could not be traced eg on the entire England and Wales register for it to be followed up soon after by a copy of an adoption certificate magically appearing out of nowhere; because if you request to know how it transpired don’t expect or assume you will get to find out.

    Any of you can request a copy of the amended/anotated birth certificate, the one which becomes the child’s newer birth certificate where the details needed are the same as on the original birth certificate where the only difference you will see is the word adopted* anotated underneath it if (allegedly) said child/ren was indeed really adopted. Others factors can come into play to dismiss this theory they ever was. I would urge all to check for things like double case files. If this too cannot be traced (newer birth certificate) via an entry then you know something went seriously wrong?

    You are quite right it is ‘not’ just happening with one Council it is happening with many more and even if the families all of them affected was to be given compensation, it would not reflect away from the evil deeds done to them already. It would not make up for lost time or the many families already destroyed for which i do cry. It needs stopping, it needs transparency and accountability as well as changes made and for the s 20 to be adhered to in it’s entirety if it has to exist at all! xx

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Dr. Manhattan.said:

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that LAs have been using S20s for the sole purpose of bumping up the Adoption numbers for profit.
    if there are 5 children and only one of them is a baby they will take all 5 into care even though the other 4 kids are of no use to them they will put them into long term Foster care. its the Drag net effect. its Criminal and people need to be arrested and prosecuted for their involvement. i think the arrest numbers would be alarmingly high.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This article is another long-overdue revelation. I hope it goes viral and pricks yet more holes in the inflated bubbles of bureaucracy with which we are burdened. The more information placed before the public, the fewer places there are for local and national governmental bureaucrats to sweep their questionable deeds out of sight.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Maggie tuttlesaid:

    Again i say a kid in care has no chance and for many leaving the care then why are so many living on the streets or filling up the prisons, how many kids in care are told bedtime stories get love and cuddles, not many, they are just another pound in the pockets of the carers, all kids need is love and to be wanted but not for money, again many kids wrongly diagnosed as having ADHD and of course many children are naughty because they want their family not to be given drugs to end up as an adult on drugs but again it is more money for the medical world and government and kids used as medical guinea pigs

    Ritalin is a central nervous stimulant that is highly addictive to users
    An upper, similar to cocaine, Ritalin remains one of the most widely prescribed drugs in treating ADHD. … The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also issued a warning that stimulantdrugs, such as Ritalin and Concerta can cause suicidal as well as violent, aggressive and psychotic behavior, and that these same …

    Before his death, father of ADHD admitted it was a fictitious disease …
    Jun 25, 2013 – On his death bed, this psychiatrist and autism pioneer admitted that ADHD is essentially a “fictitious disease,” which means that millions of young children … “ADHD is fraud intended to justify starting children on a life of drug addiction,” said Dr. Edward C. Hamlyn, a founding member of the Royal College of …

    The British kids are desperate for help but not just talks in the commons or Lords what does that lots know NOTHING


    Liked by 3 people

  10. Reblogged this on cathy fox blog on child abuse and commented:
    Another great blog from Natasha – is it any wonder that people say that the state steals and kidnaps children?

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Reblogged this on circusbuoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am afraid that in the case I have been posting about the dreaded section 20 was used. It is clear to me how the mother was manipulated into the godforsaken region in South Wales where a NHS Psychiatrist associated with her father was as an Emergency Response Team Lead ‘ready to pounce’. He threatened sectioning and also Electroshock (ECT) to ‘burn out the bad thoughts’ (about parental abuse and incest).

    When I checked a few weeks ago the three Psychiatrists involved were still on the GMC register and the Clinical Psychologist on the HCPC register.

    Magistrate Court members passed the case to Cardiff. The Cardiff judge and the mother recognised each other from an encounter in her teenage years!

    The Family Court and Forced Adoption & Care system is seemingly a front for Child Trafficking and Satanist Ritual Abuse (SRA) cover-up (not only in the US but worldwide):

    In the ‘Norwich Three’ case Marie Black was coerced to hand over her five children under Section 20 arrangements. She repeatedly won court rulings to get the children back (as she had done nothing wrong – she just became homeless with 5 kids after deciding to exit a relationship in a bit of a rush) but the council immediately appealed. After 8 (!) months suddenly a document appeared alleging extreme abuse by 40 (!) abusers – only 10 suspects were ever interviewed (mainly family and friends of Marie – not the accused teachers etc.). Jason Adams and Michael Rogers had never met but ostensibly were running an abuse ring with Marie. I visited all three of them in prison and find it utterly implausible.

    The Council called a dodgy Psychiatrist who seemingly specialises in covering up Satanist Ritual Abuse (SRA) and framing innocent parents. The geezer is on the inadvertently leaked RAINS list that Camilla at Kids Company brought to the attention of David Cameron – a few months later her charity was in tatters!

    Very unsafe convictions!



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