Care Proceedings

Care Proceedings

We support parents and children who are involved with local authority social services departments.

This can be for a variety of reasons:

  • children who are beyond parental control
  • children who have been abused
  • children who have been neglected
  • children who are likely to suffer harm in the future if steps are not taken to protect the children’s welfare.

Support is provided through advice to the client, advocacy at court and attendance at meetings.

Proceedings involving your child or children are very difficult emotionally and our specially trained solicitors will be able to provide expert legal knowledge to help you at this difficult time.  Three of our solicitors are members of the Children Panel.

The local authority must take action to protect children who they have reasonable grounds to believe are suffering harm or are likely to suffer harm if protective measures are not taken.

Read our FREE Guides Download now

What clients say about us

Good, friendly people. Work very hard to win your cases.

Anonymous

They can protect the child /children in several ways:

  • they can work voluntarily with parents to achieve a better outcome for children
  • they can call meetings to look at the best options and plan how they will safeguard and protect the children
  • child protection meetings may draw up a child protection plan as to how the local authority and other professional agencies will work with a family
  • they can also look at registration on the child protection register
  • if the local authority feel that the concerns are significant they may decide to take court proceedings to protect the child.

The applications that they can make are as follows:

  • in cases of emergency – an application for an Emergency Protection Order this order lasts for up to 8 days. The order provides for the child to be removed by the applicant to a place of safety or it can require the child to remain in the place where he is being safely accommodated
  • a care order – with this order the local authority share parental responsibility with the natural parents for the child. This order can result in the child being removed from the parents care if the concerns are deemed to be significant. The first order that is made is called an interim care order and this can last up to 8 weeks, this order can be renewed thereafter for up to 28 days at a time until the case is ready for final hearing
  • a supervision order – this provides for the supervisor (ordinarily the local authority social worker) to advise assist and befriend the supervised child. It does not confer parental responsibility on the local authority and lasts for up to one year.

Before the court will make such an order the local authority must cross a legal threshold – that is they must establish to the court that there is actual significant harm or a risk of significant harm and that harm is attributable to the care given to the child not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to provide or that the child or children are beyond parental control.

This criteria is referred to as the ‘threshold criteria’

If it is not possible for a child to remain living at home with parents then we explore the arrangements for care, this may be with other family members or with local authority foster carers. We will also look carefully at the arrangements for contact and advise parents whether those arrangements are the best that can be achieved.

During court proceedings there is often a need to assess the child’s home circumstances we can arrange for appropriate experts to carry out assessments to assist the court in ensuring that the right outcome is achieved for your child.

Legal aid is available to all parents who are involved in care proceedings affecting their children irrespective of their financial circumstances.

If you require help or advice in relation to a case involving your child and the local authority contact us on 01392 207020 or email enquiries@tozers.co.uk

There are several different applications that a local Authority may make to the court:

Emergency Protection Order – in cases of emergency where the local authority believe that the child is likely to suffer significant harm, they might apply for an EPO [Emergency Protection Order]. This order lasts for up to 8 days.

Care Order– if the local authority believe that a child is at risk of suffering significant harm or is actually suffering significant harm and they need to share parental responsibility then they may ask the court to make a Care Order – the local authority then shares parental responsibility with the parent[s] but the local authority has control and will determine whether or not any child remains within the family home or whether the child needs to be placed away from home. The criteria which have to be met before a care order can be made are determined by the court.

Before the court will make such an order the local authority must cross a legal threshold – that is they must establish to the court that there is actual significant harm or a risk of significant harm and that harm is attributable to the care given to the child not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to provide or that the child or children are beyond parental control.

This criteria is referred to as the ‘threshold criteria’.

No order can be made in relation to a child who has reached the age of 17 (or 16 if married).

Interim Orders – at the first hearing the court may make an interim order – the test to be satisfied on this first hearing is slightly different in that:

The local authority needs to show that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child is at risk of significant harm or is actually suffering significant harm.

The first interim order can be made for up to 8 weeks and thereafter the order can be renewed at intervals of 28 days until the court is able to deal with the final hearing.

Supervision Order – this is similar to a care order in terms of the evidence which the local authority needs to put before the court but is different in that the local authority does not share parental responsibility.

The supervisor (usually the social worker) has a duty to advise, assist and befriend the child.

The court may attach directions to the order:

to reside in a particular place, to meet with people on particular days or to participate in specified activities.

The supervision order lasts only for one year (but can be extended on further application by the local authority).

What clients say

Good, friendly people. Work very hard to win your cases.

Anonymous

Want to know more?

Request a call back or ask us a question using our quick-contact form.
Alternatively you can call us on 01392 207020.


Read our FREE Guides

Download now