This document explains section 20 of the Children Act 1989 and the equivalent piece of law in Wales (s76 Social Services & Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014), sometimes called ‘voluntary care’ or ‘voluntary accommodation’.

Version 4 of this guidance note (January 2022) can be found here.

Since this guidance note was originally published the Public Law Working Party published some guidance about the use of s20 (and the equivalent in Wales – s76). In broad terms the Working Party encourages the use of s20 / s76 as appropriate ways to meet the needs of children without coming to court. Version 4 has been updated to reflect this new guidance. For the Working Party guidance, see the 4th attachment on this page, and the document labelled Appendix G3 near the bottom.