High Court rules there was no discrimination in age-based legal protection for children in care 


NIROMP are very sorry to share this news. 

Article 39 has lost its legal challenge in the High Court. 

“This is a very upsetting judgment because of the profound implications for children in care. There is no question that children will continue to be placed in wholly unsuitable accommodation. Ministers were pushed into taking action because of mounting evidence of the harms suffered by children in care living in properties which bypass ordinary care standards. Instead of protecting all children, they decided to create a two-tier system where children in care aged 15 and under will always be cared for where they live, and those aged 16 and 17 can go without care in their home. One in three children in care aged 16 and 17 already lives in care-less properties. The secondary legislation is bound to increase that proportion since the brake on councils putting children into these places is lifted as soon as a child reaches 16.  

“Age on its own tells us nothing about a child’s history, what they have been through before coming into care, whether they are disabled, have mental health difficulties or have suffered sexual or physical abuse or other trauma. It doesn’t tell us about the child’s legal situation, or what a family court envisaged for them when making a care order and handing a local authority parental responsibility. Age also doesn’t tells us how things are going for a child at school or college, nor is it an indicator of a child having special educational needs or learning difficulties. 

– Carolyne Willow, Article 39’s Director

Article 39 full summary and statement is here.

Please help circulate Article 39’s CrowdJustice fundraising appeal, and make a small donation if you can.

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