Care Proceedings and adoption

Our Bristol-based solicitors represent parents, other involved adults and children who are the subject of Care Proceedings. We give objective and professional guidance at this distressing time.

Local authorities must tell parents and other people who have Parental Responsibility about their concerns for the child, as long as the child’s short-term safety allows them to do so. If you have received a letter about this you may be entitled to public funding (legal aid), so that you can have a legal representative with you to advise and assist you.

What can the court do?

Courts can only make Interim Care Orders or Interim Supervision Orders if:

  • They think there are reasonable grounds for believing that the child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, and
  • The harm or likelihood of harm is attributable to the care the child is receiving, or
  • The child is “beyond parental control”

The local authority only has to establish “reasonable grounds” and “likelihood of harm” to obtain an interim care order, which is also referred to as a holding position pending the outcome of further investigation.

The court can also make other orders while the local authority carries out assessments, including:

  • Interim Supervision Order
  • Child Arrangements Order

What is a Care Order?

A Care Order means that the local authority shares Parental Responsibility (PR) with someone else who has PR for the child. Care Orders do allow local authorities to remove children from their current carers. However, they do have a duty to consider other family members before they place a child with foster carers and to rehabilitate children back to their parents, wherever possible. While a child is the subject of a Care Order, the local authority must arrange contact with the child’s parents or carers and it has general discretion in relation to other family members.

What is a Supervision Order?

A Supervision Order places a child under the supervision of a local authority and puts the appointed supervisor under a duty to:

  • Advise, assist and befriend the child
  • Take reasonable steps to give effect to the order
  • Consider whether to apply to the court to change or end the order, if the supervisor believes it is no longer necessary or if it is not being fully complied

If care proceedings are issued, we help parents access support services and agencies, so that they can get the best result for the child.

For more information, please get in touch.

What financial assistance can I get?

Public funding (legal aid) is automatically available to parents and children involved in care proceedings. Public funding may be available to other family members subject to financial eligibility. We are able to advise on this over the telephone.

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Our Experts

Philippa Morgan

Philippa Morgan

Head of Family Law

Email: [email protected]

Direct Dial: 0117 904 5923

Iona Phillips

Partner/ Deputy Group Leader: Family Law

Email: [email protected]

Direct Dial: 0117 904 5878

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