Section 20 Agreement Family Law

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A Section 20 Agreement: Understanding this Family Law Process

If you are in need of support from local authorities for child care, or have concerns over your child`s welfare, you may come across the term „Section 20 Agreement”. This is a family law process that can be confusing, especially for those who are new to family court proceedings.

What is a Section 20 Agreement?

Section 20 Agreements are also known as voluntary accommodation agreements. This refers to the legal agreement made between a local authority and a parent or guardian of a child who needs support. In a Section 20 Agreement, a child or young person can be placed into the care of the local authority while their parent or guardian retains parental responsibility.

By signing a Section 20 Agreement, you are effectively agreeing to voluntarily give up the care of your child to the local authority. This is often a difficult decision for a parent or guardian to make, and it is important to receive legal advice and support before doing so.

Why are Section 20 Agreements used?

Section 20 Agreements are used in situations where the local authority is concerned about the welfare of a child or young person and feels that the child needs to be removed from their current living situation. This can include situations where:

– A child is at risk of harm or neglect

– A child has no suitable accommodation or living arrangements

– A child is unable to live with their parent or guardian due to illness, disability, or other reasons.

How does a Section 20 Agreement work?

Once a Section 20 Agreement has been signed, the local authority will take temporary responsibility for the child`s care. This means that the child will be placed in temporary foster care, or in a residential care setting if necessary.

During this time, the parents or guardians of the child retain parental responsibility and the right to be involved in important decisions about their child`s care and welfare. The local authority may also provide support and services to help the family address any concerns that led to the Section 20 Agreement being put in place.

It is important to note that a Section 20 Agreement should only be signed voluntarily, and parents and guardians should not feel pressured into signing one. It is also important to seek legal advice before signing any Section 20 Agreement to ensure that your rights and the rights of your child are protected.


A Section 20 Agreement can be a difficult decision for any parent or guardian to make, but it can provide support and care for a child who needs it. It is important to understand the process and seek legal advice before signing any agreements to ensure that your rights and the rights of your child are protected.