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4.12.6 Children in Care Joining the Armed Forces

This section summarises the responsibilities of the local authority in relation to children under the age 18 who wish to join the Armed Forces.

It was added to the online procedures in November 2018.

As a corporate parent, the local authority has considered carefully its position in consenting to young people entering the armed forces. It is usual for children aged under 18 years wishing to serve in the armed forces to engage in a college environment associated with the armed service area of their choice. Children under 18 years will not serve on operations.

The local authority is responsible for all children subject to Care Orders until age 18, and as such will not consent to these young people engaging in front line service (in battle) with any armed force as ultimately this could result in the death or serious injury of a young person if they were called up to serve their country at a time of war. Consent will be given to young people to attend an armed forces college course, preparing them to serve on the front line once they reach adulthood at age 18.

This is in harmony with the spirit of the Children Act and the values of Social Work practice.

Children who are Accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 remain the primary responsibility of their parent, and it is for the parents to consent to such children entering the armed forces prior to their reaching adulthood.

At 18 the young person no longer needs consent and can make their own decision.