Q&A - How can I get my vulnerable son home to live with me during the COVID crisis?

Q.  My 30-year old son has a severe learning disability and is currently living in a specialist Care Home. I think he is under something called a DOLS which I’ve been told means he is deprived of his liberty and has to stay in the Care Home because he can’t make his own decisions. However, the current COVID19 crisis has meant that I am unable to visit him and can only communicate via skype.

This is really starting to affect his mental health because he lives for my face to face visits and he has now started trying to break out of the Care Home. I think it’s best if he comes home to live with me, what can I do about this?

A.  It is likely that your son is under a DOLS (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards) Standard Authorisation. This means that a decision has been made, probably by the Local Authority, that it is in his best interests to reside at the Care Home and be prevented from leaving.

If you no longer believe that the placement is suitable, you could challenge the DOLS Authorisation by way of S21A proceedings within the Court of Protection. If your son is protesting about being in the Care Home it is possible that the challenge could be made on his behalf.  Within the proceedings the Court can explore the possible options for your son, including whether or not he could return to live with you, and the package of care which could be made available to assist in your son’s care.

Of course the Courts, like all of us during this crisis, do have to be mindful of the current restrictions and how this may limit the options for your son, but it is certainly worth starting the proceedings to get the ball rolling.

Court of Protection proceedings can be complex and so I do suggest that you arrange an appointment with a solicitor to advise you on the next steps and also consider whether or not you would be eligible for legal aid.

Article 18/05/2020

This question has been answered by Shane Maddocks a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry, please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website or call 01978 291456. As a firm, you will appreciate that we are still extremely busy, and whilst our colleagues are well equipped to work remotely, due to current circumstances work may be interrupted – however cases are still ongoing and will be prioritised by urgency and need.Stay safe and thank you for your support.
  

John Lancaster

John Lancaster

Senior Solicitor

Senior Solicitor and former Partner and part of our Mental Health team in Wrexham

Shane Maddocks

Shane Maddocks

Solicitor

Solicitor and Head of Public Authority Law.