Misuse of law within care proceedings

Children are being kept waiting in foster care for months and even a year or more because of the local authorities “wholly unacceptable” misuse of law, the country’s most senior family judge has said.
In the case before Sir James Munby, two children were waiting in foster care for 18 months, which he feels is a “misuse and abuse of section 20 and this can no longer be tolerated”.
The act’s section 20 gives local authority power to place children into foster care in circumstances where a child has been “lost or abandoned” or has no one with “parental responsibility”.
However, Sir James suggested that too often youngsters were unfairly being kept in foster placements for long periods – not knowing where they would live in the long term.
“There is, I fear, far too much misuse and abuse of section 20 and this can no longer be tolerated,” Sir James said. “It is, in my judgment, and I use the phrase advisedly and deliberately, a misuse by the local authority of its statutory powers. It is a wrong; it is a denial of the fundamental rights of both the parent and the child; it will no longer be tolerated and it must stop.”