The two questions for the court in this case were whether the continuing duties owed to both claimants, ‘K’ and ‘D’, by a local authority under s24 Children Act 1989 were owed by the local authorities in whose care they had been, or by the Kent County Council where they now lived and whether it was necessary to determine the responsibilities owed to K under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, as she had severe disabilities requiring 24-hour care and a training programme to deal with her behavioural and communication difficulties. She was described as obsessive, agitated and anxious, and unable to tell the time or manage money.
The Court held that the responsible local authority, for providing advice and assistance under s24 Children Act 1989 to a child formerly in care who has turned 18, was the local authority for the area where the person then lived.
With regard to duties owed to K under the 1970 Act, in accordance with >Shah “ordinary residence” referred to a person’s abode in a particular place or country which s/he had adopted voluntarily and for settled purposes as part of the regular order of his life for the time being, whether of short or long duration.
In the present case, the evidence showed that K had expressed a clear and consistent desire to stay with her foster parents. The judge thought this sufficient to justify the conclusion that she was in her present abode voluntarily, and with a settled intention to remain there for the time being. Her disabilities did not appear to be such as to prevent her from having the requisite understanding for both mental elements and that was enough to conclude that she was ordinarily resident in Kent.
Even if that analysis were wrong, the judge said, she was nonetheless to be treated, as if her foster parents were her parents, and she were a child. This would produce the same result.