What to do with an errant 17 year old

17 years old is an awkward year.

You can get married (with permission), drive a car and enlist. But you can’t vote and are not seen as an adult in the eyes of the law.

For many years the courts treated 17 year olds as old enough to make their own decisions (subject to them being deemed competent).

Recently, that has been called into question when you are looking at voluntary accommodation of a child. That is, where a 17 year old can’t stay at his parent’s home or with another family member and the local authority are being asked to step in.

The case of Re W (A Child) [2016] has said that if the 17 year old’s welfare demands it, they can be accommodated against their wishes and feelings if not doing so would prejudice their welfare.

Many of you who work with teenagers will be aware of students who have been through the care system and local authorities usual stance. This case highlights that if a 17 year old is putting themselves in danger then a local authority can act to protect them.

Something to consider when you are next struggling with a teenager who keeps putting themselves in danger.

 

 

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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Katherine T Young Ltd & Kate Young disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.

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