If Children’s Services at the Local Authority feel that your child is suffering significant harm, or is at risk of suffering significant harm, and this may be because of concerns relating to neglect, emotional harm, physical abuse and sexual abuse, then they can file an Application with the Court to start Care Proceedings.
If the Local Authority has already filed an Application with the Court, or you are aware that they will be issuing Care Proceedings, then our experienced Child Law Solicitors at Hatch Brenner are here to help and advise you on this.
The Local Authority could be applying for an Interim Care Order or an Interim Supervision Order to be made at the start of Care Proceedings, and their plan could be for your child/children to be removed from your care whilst further assessments are undertaken of you. These could include assessments by psychologists or psychiatrists, or assessments to be undertaken of your parenting ability.
If your child/children are removed from your care, they may be looked after by the Local Authority in a foster care placement, or they may be placed with a family member or friend for the duration of the Care Proceedings.
An Interim Care Order is a temporary Order and it gives the Local Authority a share of parental responsibility for the child/children. Parents and others with parental responsibility for the child/children do not lose their parental responsibility, but the Local Authority has the power to limit anyone else exercising their parental responsibility, and can make decisions about the child/children while the Interim Care Order remains in force.
Under an Interim Supervision Order, the Local Authority has a duty to advise, assist and befriend the child/children who is named by the Supervision Order. It does not give the Local Authority parental responsibility for the child/children. The Local Authority will work with those who have parental responsibility to ensure the safety of the child/children.
However, before the Court can make a Care Order or Supervision Order, it has to be satisfied that the child/children was suffering significant harm or at risk of suffering from significant harm. This is called the “threshold criteria”.
Court Proceedings for these Orders are kept to a strict timescale and have to be resolved within 26 weeks or earlier if at all possible, which is why it is important that you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Our experienced Child Law Solicitors are here to represent you and support you throughout the duration of the Care Proceedings.