Being separated from your child or facing the possibility of separation is a very distressing and traumatic for both children and parents alike.

Our child care experts are highly experienced in the area of Child Care Proceedings. Our team have extensive knowledge in the area of care proceedings and will deal with your case in a sensitive and caring manner and will guide you through the court process and help you work with the Local Authority in securing the return of your child/children or help keep them in your care.

We deal with the following:

  • Supervision Orders
  • Police Protection Orders
  • Placement Orders
  • PLO Meetings/ Pre Proceedings Meetings
  • Emergency Protection Orders
  • Discharge Of Care Orders
  • Special Guardianship Orders
  • Voluntary Section 20 Agreements

Every Local Authority has a duty to safeguard children and promote a child's wellbeing. If a Local Authority has concerns about the safety or welfare of a child, they will undertake investigations to decide whether they need to take action to safeguard a child. A Local Authority can become involved with families in a number of ways. More often than not they become involved with families following referrals from police, schools, members of the public and health professionals such as consultants and GP's, or sometimes even direct disclosures from children themselves.

A local Authority will only initiate proceedings if they believe a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm due to care they are receiving from their parents or carers. In cases where it is felt a child is in immediate danger or risk of harm, then a child may be removed immediately under a Police Protection Order. In most cases however, a Local Authority will try and work with a family and to assist them and help them parent better, this may entail parenting courses or assistance with alcohol and substance misuse or issues involving domestic violence. If the Local Authority is unable to work with a family, they will consider issuing court proceedings and apply for an interim a care order, before issuing proceedings the Local Authority will convene a Pre Proceedings Meeting.

Full Public Funding is usually granted to all parents and children in Public Law Proceedings, regardless of their financial means.

Supervision Orders

A Supervision Order gives the Local Authority the power to monitor a child's needs and progress while the child lives at home. The Local Authority will provide help and support to the family as a whole. Unlike a Care Order a Supervision Order does not allow the Local Authority Parental Responsibility and does not allow them the right to remove a child from a parent. The Parent maintains Parental Responsibility, but must not act in any way against the Supervision Order. Most Supervision orders last for 12 months.

Police Protection Orders

The Police have the power to remove a child from their parents / carers care, if they have reasonable cause to believe a child would otherwise be likely to suffer significant harm if the child is not removed or kept in suitable accommodation. In most cases, this will be where there is immediate or imminent risk of harm to a child. No child may be kept in police protection for more than 72 hours.

Placement Orders

A placement order gives the Local Authority the power to place child with a prospective adopters. It can only be made in relation to a child who is the subject of a care order. Unless a parent consents to adoption, a placement order must be secured before a child can be adopted. Parental Consent may be dispensed with by the Court. A placement order continues until revoked or until an Adoption Order is made or where the child attains 18.

PLO Meetings/ Pre Proceedings Meetings

In most cases the Public Law Outline requires Social Services department to arrange a meeting with parents to see if it possible to reach agreement about what needs to happen to protect a child from harm so that court proceedings can be avoided . A parent is invited to attend the meeting with a solicitor who can help negotiate an agreement with the Local Authority.

Emergency Protection Orders

An EPO is an order which enables a child to be removed immediately to a place of safety. EPO's are considered to be very draconian orders and will only be granted where there is evidence to suggest a child is in imminent danger. An EPO lasts for an initial period of 8 days, but may be extended for a further 7 days. After its expiry the Local Authority must return child to their parent or consider whether an application should be made to the court for a Care Order.

Discharge Of Care Orders

A care order may be discharged by the court on application of any person with Parental Responsibility, the Local Authority or indeed the child himself. It is extremely difficult to discharge a care order and on application by parents the court will need to be satisfied there has been a material change to the parent's circumstances before permitting child to return home. Sometimes a young person may disagree about the need for an Order and if a child is competent to instruct a solicitor himself, he can make his own application to the court. The Court will hear evidence from all parties and consider whether it may be more appropriate to make a Supervision Order.

Special Guardianship Orders

A Special Guardianship Order or SGO is an order made by the court appointing one or more individuals to be a child's 'Special Guardian'. It is a private law application and is intended for those children who cannot live with their parents. An SGO enables a child to remain with his or her family and unlike adoption it does not end the legal relationship between a child and his or her birth parents. An SGO last until a child is 18. You do not need to be relative to make an application for an SGO. If the Local Authority are involved with the child, the court will direct they file a report as to your suitability be a Special Guardian.

Voluntary Section 20 Agreements

A section 20 agreement is a voluntary agreement entered into by the Local Authority and a parent which enables the Local Authority to accommodate a child temporarily until such time a parent can address their problems and improve the home environment for a child. A written agreement is entered into, which will set out the expectations of the Local Authority. A parent may withdraw their consent to a section 20 agreement at any time and seek return of their child, however if the local Authority believe the consent is withdrawn too soon , without the necessary changes being made, then they are likely to make an application to the court for a care order.

Contact Us

For an initial discussion about your case, call us on 020 3026 2548 or complete the online form.