What are care proceedings?
A local authority usually starts care proceedings when a social worker believes that a child is at risk. This is to prompt the court to look at the situation and see whether a legal order is needed to keep the child safe.
What happens if care proceedings are started?
Unless there is an emergency situation before issuing court proceedings, the local authority will invite parents to a meeting in order to discuss the concerns regarding their child. The local authority will set out what their concerns are and what they would expect to be achieved in order to avoid court proceedings.
You will automatically qualify for legal aid and it is crucial that you get a Solicitor to represent you.
What are care orders?
The Children Act 1989 gives the local authority jurisdiction to apply for a care order if they believe a child has suffered significant harm or is at risk of suffering significant harm or if a child is beyond parental control. A care order gives the local authority parental responsibility for the child, which allows them to make decisions for the child such as where they should live.
When issuing court proceedings the local authority will set out in their care plan where and with whom the child should live and what contact the child should have with their family.
What is involved in care proceedings?
Care Proceedings are court proceedings, which can result in a child being returned home, placed with a family member or friend, placed in foster care or placed for adoption. If the Local Authority plan is one of adoption they will issue a placement application during the course of the care proceedings.
The people involved in care proceedings are the local authority social worker, the parents of the child and the child. The child will have their own solicitor and a Children’s Guardian to be independent and to represent the child.
How long can proceedings take?
There is a statutory time limit of 26 weeks from the issue of care proceedings to the conclusion. Only in exceptional circumstances can the time limit be extended.
What happens in court?
The advocates for each party will meet prior to seeing the Judge to determine what issues are agreed and which are contested. All parties and their advocates will go in to court and the advocates will set out their party’s case to the Magistrates or Judge.
At some hearings the parties may need to give evidence about their case.
How can DPP Law help?
With more than 30 years experience dealing with family law cases, our team of experts is well placed to help you get the best result. Legal advice is crucial in resolving this process quickly and effectively.
Contact us today by free phone or email to get help, consultations and information on financial aid from our team.