The Department for Education could face legal action for publishing guidance that might lead local authorities to break laws protecting vulnerable children, a charity has claimed.

Children’s rights charity Article 39, claims that Department for Education “statutory guidance myth busting”, produced by its children’s social care innovation programme, features “numerous errors and misrepresentations of the statutory framework” on how social workers should support children in care.

A key concern of the charity is that the DfE guidance suggests that it is acceptable for local authorities to provide one social worker for children and foster carers when a child is in a stable, long-term placement. According to the charity, the statutory guidance indicates that for safeguarding reasons, there should be two.

With regard to children who may go missing from care the myth buster guide states

” that children who have run away should be offered an interview with someone independent after they return” yet the charity claims that there is a statutory obligation to offer this safeguard.

Article 39, Director Carolyne Willow said: “It is not good enough for the minister to say there have been no changes to the law and statutory guidance while at the same time leaving in circulation a document which indicates otherwise.”

The DfE confirmed it had been contacted by lawyers regarding legal proceedings.

A spokesperson said: “We have received the pre-action letter and will be responding in due course.”

News Source: Children and Young People Now