When you find yourself – and your family – wrapped up in the Care Proceedings process, it is of very great benefit to have Care Proceedings explained.
If you don’t understand what is happening with your child, it is very hard to be able to do something, or indeed anything, effective about it. And while you should always seek immediate expert legal advice should social services act against you, it is always better to gain your own understanding of what are Care Proceedings.
So, what does Care Proceedings mean? Care Proceedings, defined simply, is the legal process by which Social Services department of the Local Authority ask the court whether or not a young person should go into care. This is done by application to the Court for a “Care Order” whereby a local authority asks a court to have your child taken into care.
- This would mean they would live with someone else. This can be for just a few weeks or until the court makes a final decision, which could be many months, and
gives the local authority “parental responsibility” for your child – this means that the local authority gets the legal right to make decisions about your child’s life, like whether they get medical treatment or where they go to school.
What Procedure Must be Followed in Care Proceedings?
When they receive a report regarding the welfare of your children, the local authority must decide, within one working day, whether or not they need to check up on you. If the answer is yes, a Social Worker is told to make an initial assessment. This assessment must occur within ten working days of the initial referral.
This might happen casually, with a Social Worker “popping in for a chat” or it might be by appointment in your home.
“Brendan didn’t hold back in
court and challenged the
case with style, class and
professionalism. He got
the case thrown out of court
and now I have my daughter
home. Without Brendan, I
wouldn’t have my child.”Our client, Mr Singh
But no matter how “casual” this assessment, from that point, you are involved in a Child Protection Investigation. This meeting is written up on a record that goes permanently on file about you and your children.
The result of this meeting with you can be “No action taken” but you are unlikely to get an apology or thanks; and you need to check that the file that stays with Social Services is accurate as it can affect your child’s future.
Matters can go further and Social Services decide to hold an ominously-entitled Section 47 Enquiry (named for section 47 of the Children Act 1989), carrying out a core assessment.
If the core assessment deems that the child is at continued risk from significant harm, a child protection conference will be convened.
Depending upon the findings of the child protection conference, it may be decided that care proceedings are necessary to keep the child safe.
Here it is decided whether or not the child should be placed on the Child Protection Register and a care plan is outlined.
Care Proceedings are usually held in the Family Proceedings Court.
“Brendan’s advice was
phenomenal, sophisticated and
untouchable. He made me almost
certain my girl was coming home.
Youneed your solicitor to support
you and Brendan does that.”Our client, Mr Singh
This court is also responsible for awarding emergency protection orders whereby a child may be removed from his or her home for up to eight days.
The court may issue a care order giving local authority parental responsibility for a child – either fully or in part, shared with the parents – and the care plan for the child will be implemented. Depending on the circumstances, the child may continue to live at home, be placed in the care of other members of the family, foster care or a children’s home.
In circumstances where it is deemed that it would be unsafe for the child to return to live with his or her natural parents, the local authority may seek to have the child adopted, issuing an adoption order which transfers parental responsibility to the adoptive parents.Contact Us Now
Brendan Fleming Solicitors are nationally recognized as a leading choice in the area of care work. We are justifiably proud of our expertise and our success rate. We are contracted to the Legal Services Commission for this type of work and are considered to be one of the leading national firms for publicly funded services.
Our principal, Brendan Fleming, has won a reputation for his innovative approach, spearheading many new ways of securing justice for families caught in the care proceedings trap. He is a member of a select children’s panel and recognized and approved by the Law Society.
If your family is being subject to Care Proceedings, see how we can help you: contact Brendan Fleming today.