Proceedings & Orders affecting children
When it comes to a child’s welfare, only the very best care will do. Our specialist Family team are here to support and guide you in matters concerning children.
Care Proceedings Solicitors
We have a nationwide team of specialist family lawyers who can advise you on care proceedings and care orders, including defending applications made by a Local Authority, applications to court to discharge a care order. With so much at stake, it's important that you get teh right lawyer on your side, with the right experience and approach. Please do call or email to discuss your situation in teh strictest confidence.
How do care proceedings work?
The local council can begin care proceedings if they are worried about a child's wellbeing. The care proceedings process involves looking to understand why the child is at risk. It also seeks to recognise what measures can be put in place to protect the child. When a care order is granted, this means that the Local Authority is given parental responsibility for a child. Parents will therefore share their parental responsibility with the local authority. Parents should be notified of any decisions made by the local authority about the child. However, should the local authority believe it is in the child's best interests, they can limit the parental responsibility that the parents have.
Social workers and Officer from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) compose reports for the Court to consider. Once this is done, there is a Court hearing whereby the judge will determine if they believe the child is safe. It can take around 26 weeks for a Court to decide what happens to the child. This timescale is however dependent on the complexity of the matter and type of care order applied for (see below).
A Care Order can last until the child is 18 unless it is revoked at an earlier time.
Types of care orders
These can include :-
Emergency Protection Order - These types of orders are issued to protect a child from ongoing or imminent danger. They are used in exceptionally serious situations. An Emergency Protection Order can last up to 8 days. Most applications are made by the Local Authority, but the Police or NSPCC can also apply. An Emergency Protection order will be granted if the Court is satisfied that the child is likely to or is currently suffering from significant harm. It could also be granted if the applicant believes that the child is likely to suffer but they do not have access to the child to be able to help them.It is a criminal offence to obstruct someone from removing or preventing the removal of a child if there is an Emergency Protection Order in place.
Placement Order - This is a Court Order authorising the Local Authority to place a child up for adoption. These orders last until the child is 18 or until the order is revoked. If the court believes it is in the best interests of the child, they can place the child for adoption without the parents’ consent. The adoptive parents are decided on by the Local Authority.
Secure Accommodation Order - The Court can grant a Secure Accommodation Order in cases where a child may be in danger where they reside or have run away in the past. Therefore, the purpose of the order is to place the child somewhere where they are less likely to run away or placed in a safer environment. A Secure Accommodation Order can also be granted in matters where the child may harm themselves or others. The court will specify how long the child will be kept in secure accommodation.