LAC Manual Part 4 - Holidays with Looked After Children
Holidays with Looked After Children
If a child is under s25, then the right to regulate residence stays with the parents and the consent of a parent with this right is needed in order to take the child away on holiday anywhere in the UK or abroad.
If a child is on a CSO, with a named place of residence with carers, then the child can accompany them to a holiday address in Scotland because the CSO is a Scottish order and will be enforceable here.
For the duration of the order, the parents’ rights to regulate residence can’t be exercised so far as consistent with the CSO. That being said, it would be good practice to let the Hearing know a holiday is planned and get their consent to it and in cases where the holiday is contentious and parents disagree, let the hearing decide. The parents should be notified anyway about children going on holiday as this would be good practice and in line with our duties under s17 to take the parents views into account when making decisions about looked after children. This was the view of a reporter previously and it might be worth checking with the reporter now to see if that remains the view of the hearing system.
If the child is on a PO/POA, then the right to regulate residence is always ours but if a parent still holds the right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with the child and is exercising that right, then we would need their consent to a holiday outwith the UK (but not in the UK) for the reasons detailed below. In many cases, this right is transferred to the carers or prospective adopters so it is usually only in cases where a parent can’t look after the children but actively still sees them and holds that parental right, that you would need their consent to a holiday abroad.
If the holiday is abroad, then you must be aware of s2 (3) of the 1995 Act which prohibits the removal of a child in Scotland from the UK without the consent of a person who has for the time being the right to regulate residence or to maintain personal relations and direct contact on a regular basis and is exercising them. In s25 cases, we need the consent of both parents if both hold PRR to take the child abroad. That should be in the form of a letter in writing.
In CSO cases, the hearing would determine if parental rights were being exercised and then a holiday abroad could be authorised by social work eg CSWO but only if the hearing determined that parental rights were not being exercised by both parents.
While the hearing have no locus to consent to holidays abroad, they could make a determination that neither parent if two hold PRR was exercising their PRR and armed with that, we could provide a letter of consent to a holiday abroad.