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17.2 Marriage of a Looked After Child

Contents

1. Necessary Consents 
2. Where a Care Order Exists
  2.1 The Department’s Consent
  2.2 Where Consent is not Given 
3. Where No Care Order Exists 


1. Necessary Consents

1.1 This procedure applies to 16 and 17 year olds who are Looked After and who wish to marry.
1.2 A marriage between two persons one of whom is under 16 is void.
1.3 For a young person who is 16 or 17 to marry, the written consent of the parents is required. If the young person is the subject of a Care Order, the consent of the department is required in addition to the parents. 
1.4 Where the necessary consents are not forthcoming, an application can be made to the Court for consent to the marriage in substitution for parental consent.


2. Where a Care Order Exists

2.1 The Department’s Consent

2.1.1 If a young person of 16 or 17 who is the subject of a Care Order expresses a wish to marry, this must be considered at the CLA Review
2.1.2 The Review may recommend that the young person’s wishes must be supported and consent must be granted. The Review must also consider at this stage whether and when it may be appropriate to seek a discharge of the Care Order. The social worker must obtain legal advice as to the appropriate steps to be followed.
2.1.3 It will always be necessary to seek the parents’ written consent to the marriage.
2.1.4 The social worker must seek the views of the Head of Statutory Social Work Services on giving consent to the marriage. To do so, the social worker in conjunction with the young person must prepare a written report setting out the circumstances of the proposed marriage, the young person’s representations, the parents’ views, the review’s recommendation and attaching a copy of the parents’ written consents (if given), the CLA Plan, the Pathway Plan and the minutes of the most recent CLA Review
2.1.5 The Head of Statutory Social Work Services must decide on whether the consent of the department to the marriage must be given. The decision must be evidenced in writing together with reasons and a copy retained on the young person’s file.
2.1.6 If the consent of the parents and the department is given, the marriage can go ahead.
2.1.7 The young person will be an Eligible Young Person and entitled to support under the Leaving Care Procedure.

2.2 Where Consent is not Given 

2.2.1 Where the necessary consents are not given to the marriage by the parents and/or the department, the social worker and the Personal Adviser must consider with the young person whether s/he wishes to obtain legal advice regarding a possible application to the Court for consent to the marriage. 
2.2.2 In such circumstances, the Head of Statutory Social Work Services must be asked to consider a contribution towards the legal fees if legal aid is not available.


3. Where No Care Order Exists

3.1 If a young person of 16 or 17 who is Accommodated expresses a wish to marry, this must be considered at the CLA Review even though the formal consent of the department is not necessary.
3.2 Where the parents give consent, the marriage can go ahead. Whether or not the young person leaves the Looked After service at this stage, s/he will be an Eligible or Relevant Young Person and entitled to support under Leaving Care Procedure.
3.3 The Review may recommend that the young person’s wish to marry must be supported even where the parents’ consent is not given.
3.4 In these circumstances, the social worker and Personal Adviser must consider with the young person whether s/he wishes to obtain legal advice regarding a possible application to the Court for consent to the marriage. 
3.5 If so, the social worker must request the Head of Statutory Social Work Services to consider a contribution towards the young person’s legal fees if legal aid is not available.

End