Parents involvement between the ages of 16-18
In terms of young people (YP), as defined in the Children & Families Act and the Code of Practice, can you confirm that between the ages of 16 and 18 if the YP wishes their parent of parents to be consulted either with them or for them (for example if they have acute anxiety and can't deal with people on their own on a one to one basis or haven't built up a trusted relationship with an Independent Supporter as their input is time limited) and can convey this to a Local Authority (LA), can the LA choose to ignore this wish or have they a duty to honour the YP's wishes?
In addition, how can parents best support their young adults (18 to 25) if their wishes to be helped by their parents remain the same? Will parents need to apply for a power of attorney or, in more severe cases, to the Court of Protection?
A local authority must deal with parents if a young person (someone over compulsory school age - the end of the academic year in which they turn 16 years old) who has capacity to, authorises that they act on their behalf. The LA have no choice. They cannot ignore the young person’s wishes.
If the young person does not have capacity to make that authorization then, unless a local authority is corporate parent or the young person has a separate representative, parents are automatically the people making decision on behalf of their young person. Again, unless the LA has gone to the Court of Protection and obtained an order in exceptional circumstances, then they must deal with parents. There is no choice and the SEND Code of Practice 2014 makes this very clear in Annex 1. Up to the age of 18 years old a parent retains parental responsibility for any child whether or not they have SEN or a disability.
Over 18 years old, where a young person does not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves, parents are again automatically the people that LAs must work with unless there are exceptional reasons not to do so, or if the young person already has an alternative representative.
From the age of 16 years old a parent can apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy for their child in relation to financial matters if there is good reason to do so, such as to handle a large sum of monies on the young person’s behalf.
Whilst deputyship applications can be made for health and welfare matters for young people over 16, these are usually only issued where there is a “live” issue or dispute with another party which needs some form of resolution.
(many thanks to Angela Jackman @ MG Law for checking my answer to this one!)