Video length: 49s
If the Local Authority has reason to be concerned that a child is at risk as a result of the care they are being given, they have a duty to intervene and start Child Care Proceedings. This could be for a variety of reasons, with some of the most common cases that lead to Care Proceedings being:
It is important that you take legal advice should Care Proceedings be started for your child. This is to ensure you fully understand the situation and its consequences, as well as to ensure your child's best interests are the priority throughout. Our expert team of family law solicitors can guide you through the process and make sure you follow the Proceedings correctly.
Children Services will write reports to be filed with the Court outlining what they think the most suitable outcome for your child is, including their recommendations for long-term care provisions.
This conclusion will be reached by talking to parents and child and thoroughly investigating the situation, as well as taking the wishes and feelings of your child into account. At this point, they may also speak to other family members or friends with regard looking after the child should they not be able to safely remain at home.
This will take place six days after the application for Child Care Proceedings has been made by the Local Authority. Usually, the Court will not make a final decision at this first hearing. Rather, the purpose is to:
The Case Management Hearing should take place within 12 days of the application for Care Proceedings. It is at this point that the Court will ensure everything (assessments, statements, reports, evidence etc.) is prepared. They can also consider what further evidence may be needed and resolve any areas of disagreement. A CAFCASS officer will file an Analysis and Recommendations Report setting out their enquiries and conclusions.
Parents must have made a formal application for supporting expert evidence or fresh assessments of themselves or anyone in their family by this date. It is crucial to have spoken to us and any family members who may want to care for your child as soon as possible so they can be considered by this day. After this point they will usually not be considered.
At this hearing, the Court will see if an agreement can be reached between Local Authority and parents as to the long term future of your child (e.g. where they should live, what the contact arrangements should be etc.) If an agreement can be reached, proceedings will conclude at this point and the appropriate court order made.
Should the case continue to a Final Hearing, the Issues Resolution Hearing will ensure all evidence is in place and decide if further information is necessary.
If the case continues to a Final Hearing, this is where decisions are made with regards to where your child will live and which court order should be made. It should take place within 26 weeks of the Proceedings being issued, and you will usually be directed by the Court to prepare a written statement. We can help with this, as well as providing any further assistance.
There are a variety of possible court orders that can be made at the Final Hearing. These include:
Our expert family law solicitors have the legal experience needed to guide you through Child Care Proceedings and ensure that the best interests of your child are always at the heart of the matter.
We offer both a tailored service and a fixed fee service to suit your needs. Call us today on 0800 689 1058 or use our online enquiry form. We also welcome face-to-face consultations at our Accrington, Blackburn, Chorley, Manchester and Preston offices.
Get in touch to see how our experts could help you.