Parents could be billed for children in care
If adopted, the plans would mean parents being billed for the cost of raising children who are thought to be “not in crisis”, according to a report on Children & Young People Now.
Under the proposals, the council would “seek to recover the full or partial cost of providing a service” from parents with “sufficient means”. Young people over the age of 16 could also be billed for services they use.
“At its worst, such a move could place children at risk of harm. There is also a risk that charging for care services will hamper social workers’ efforts to work with parents to address their problems, which is critical to keeping the child safe and helping prevent the need for care.”
“This could potentially store up costs for local authorities in the future, with a need for more specialist support and care later in the child’s life.”
“A nominal charge will not recoup the costs of intervention, but may put off families from contacting the council and mean children do not get the vital support and services they need.”
But Siobhan Williams of the County Council insisted that the plans were not primarily financial in nature, saying:
“If a family is in a genuine crisis situation or on a limited income, there will not be a charge. The proposals are not about saving money, but about defining relationships with parents and carers, being clear with parents about their responsibility for their children…
We believe that this policy will encourage parents who are financially able and want to do so, to continue to contribute towards aspects of the care of their own child. In a very small number of situations it may also act as a deterrent in cases where there is no crisis, or the crisis is past.”
If the plans were implemented, only a small number of families in the county would be affected, she added.
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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