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Salford Children's Services Procedures Manual Salford City Council website

3.14.20 Looked After Children Joining the Armed Forces

This chapter was added to the manual 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 of their choice. It is not usual for children to engage in front line services being called up to serve in battle for their country during a time of war.

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. (Note: the UK is a signatory to a United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and pledges not to send members of the armed forces under 18 to take direct part in hostilities).

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

Any young person subject to a care Order until the age of 18 will require the Director of children services to sign the consent form allowing the young person to join the armed forces.

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.

The Social Worker for the young person joining the armed forces will ensure the relevant professional within the military unit the young person is serving is aware of the young person’s legal status and accessible for additional support if required.

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