If the Local Authority do issue care proceedings, this means that it will generally be seeking either a Care Order or Supervision Order. If such proceedings are issued, you are entitled to, as a parent, to free legal advice and representation throughout your case irrespective of your financial circumstances.
At Family Law Group, our aim is to ensure that you receive the best possible service and advice throughout your case. This means that we will provide plain and simple explanations of everything that is happening and discuss with you the various options of every stage throughout your case.
If the Local Authority issue proceedings, it may ask the Family Court to make a temporary order called an Interim Care Order or Interim Supervision Order. If it is granted an Interim Care Order, this means that it will share parental responsibility for your children, but it also means it will have the power to place your children in foster care or with alternative family members whilst the Local Authority assesses your parenting ability or further investigations are undertaken in respect of your case.
Alternatively, the Local Authority may seek an Interim Supervision Order. This means your children can remain living with either you or family members under the supervision of the Local Authority.
Before the Court can grant an Interim Care Order or Interim Supervision Order, it must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that your children have or will suffer significant harm unless such an Order is made to protect your children. Even then, the Court can only remove your children from your care if it is satisfied that your children’s safety requires their immediate separation from you.
As part of its case, the Local Authority will prepare statements, carry out assessments and present a Care Plan to the Court outlining what it recommends for your children in the long term. To ensure that the Local Authority is acting properly and complying with its duties to your family, a Children’s Guardian will be appointed along with a Solicitor for your children. Their role is to ensure that your children’s interests are protected and to advise the Court as to what is in your children’s best interests.
If you do not agree with the Care Plan for your children, we will need to set out in a statement what you propose should happen to your children together with details of any further assessments that you wish to be undertaken of either you, your children or other family members.
It is ultimately the Court’s judgment to decide what should happen to your children, but the Judge will listen to everyone including you, your partner, the Local Authority, Social Worker and the Children’s Guardian together with any other experts who have become involved in your case.
If the Judge is satisfied that it is safe to do so, your children will stay with you. With other cases, the Local Authority will be given the power to find your children a new home with other family members or alternatively with a new family. However, the Local Authority can generally only place children with a new family if it is also granted a Placement Order. Such an Order gives the Local Authority permission to place your children for adoption.