Parental Responsibility - guidance
The EYFS states that we must make a record of who has parental responsibility for a child.
This is the law, it is not optional. You are legally required to ask for parental responsibility details and should put the questions on either your Contract or Child Information Form (if you write your own forms).
What if parents refuse to give me the details?
If parents choose not to share these details with you, you must ask them to state why not on your Contract or Child Information Form and to sign. I would also recommend you contact Ofsted for guidance BEFORE you take on the child.
Why does someone need PR?
Only a person with PR can give valid consent for medical permissions etc.
A person with PR can pass the responsibility on by authorising others eg childminders to make specific decisions for the child. This must be given in writing.
Who has PR?
The Children Act 1989 sets out who has PR.
· Mothers automatically have PR for their children;
· Fathers have PR if they were married to the mother when the child was conceived or born or if they got married to her later;
· Living with the mother, even for many years, does not give a father parental responsibility. To change this, a court order will need to be granted or the child must be legally adopted;
· From 1st Dec 2003 an unmarried father can get equal PR by jointly registering the birth with the child’s mother.
What about step parents?
· A step-parent, even if married to a parent of children, does not automatically acquire PR for a child. This needs to be legally obtained through the courts;
What about adoptive / foster parents?
· I strongly suggest you take legal advice.
What about care orders?
· When a child is made the subject of a care order, the local authority has PR for the child.
Information about legal contact
The EYFS 2008 required childminders to record information about who has legal contact for a child (as well as who has Parental Responsibility). This question has disappeared from the revised 2012 EYFS.
Here is some information about legal contact in case you ever need to find out more...
What is legal contact?
After, for example, a divorce or separation, many different people may wish to continue having contact with any involved children. These could include – the parent the child is not living with, grandparents, same sex co-parents, step-parents and other relatives.
Legal contact can include –
· Visiting contact, where the non-resident adult visits the child in a place of safety such as a relative’s house or Social Services Contact Centre;
· Staying contact, where the non-resident adult is allowed to care for the child eg overnight or at weekends;
· indirect contact – this may be phone calls, letters, emails etc.
A contact order is an order requiring the resident parent to allow the child to visit or stay with the non-resident parent or have any other form of contact provided in the order, for example by telephone.
If the child’s parent has a contact order, you must ask them to state the name and contact information for the adult detailed on the order.