Public funding and legal aid for care proceedings

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Forbes Solicitors regularly represent parents, adults and children who are involved in Care Proceedings, giving highly objective and professional guidance throughout what can be a distressing and stressful process.

Local authorities must inform parents and other adults who have Parental Responsibility about their concerns for the child, providing that the child's short-term safety allows this to happen. Anyone who has received a letter about this may be entitled to public funding (legal aid), entitling you to have a legal representative with you to both advise and assist.

What can the court do?

Courts can only make Interim Care Orders or Interim Supervision Orders if:

  1. They think there are reasonable grounds for believing that the child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, and the harm or likelihood of harm is attributable to the care the child is receiving, or
  2. The child is "beyond parental control"

The local authority only has to establish "reasonable grounds" and "likelihood of harm" to obtain an interim care order, which is also referred to as a holding position pending the outcome of further investigation.

The court can also make other orders while the local authority carries out assessments, including:

  • Interim Supervision Order
  • Child Arrangements Order

What is a Care Order?

A Care Order ensures the local authority shares Parental Responsibility with someone else who has Parental Responsibility for the child. Care Orders also allow local authorities to remove children from their current carers.

Local authorities must consider all other family members when a child is placed with foster carers. They also have a responsibility to rehabilitate children and look for a solution to get them back to their parents, wherever this situation is possible. When a child is the subject of a Care Order, the local authority must arrange contact with the child's parents or carers maintain relationships with other key people in the child's life as long as it is safe to do so.

What is a Supervision Order?

A Supervision Order places a child under the supervision of a local authority and puts the appointed supervisor under a duty to:

  • Advise, assist and befriend the child
  • Take reasonable steps to give effect to the order
  • Consider whether to apply to the court to change or end the order, if the supervisor believes it is no longer necessary or if it is not being fully complied

If care proceedings are issued, we help parents access support services and agencies, so that they can get the best result for the child.

What financial assistance can I get?

Public funding (legal aid) is automatically available to parents and children involved in care proceedings. Public funding may be available to other family members subject to financial eligibility.

Following completion of a Children and Families Assessment financial assistance in kind, or in exceptional circumstances, cash can be provided to a child, parent or carer under section 17(6) and section 18 Children Act 1989 to address identified needs to safeguard and promote a child's welfare where there is no other legitimate source of financial assistance.

S17(6) Children Act 1989: The services provided by a local authority in the exercise of functions conferred on them by Section 17 may include providing accommodation and giving assistance in kind or, in exceptional circumstances, in cash.

S18 Children Act 1989: Every local authority shall provide such day care for children in need within their area who are (a) aged five or under; and (b) not yet attending schools, as is appropriate.

S18(5) Children Act 1989: Every local authority shall provide for children in need within their area who are attending any school such care or supervised activities as is appropriate (a)outside school hours; or (b)during school holidays.

At Forbes, our Family, Divorce and Children Law Solicitors are here to help you in any way that we can. Whether you simply require some straightforward legal advice, a letter sending or, if necessary, Court Proceedings can be issued.

We offer our private paying clients the option of our tailored service or for more straightforward cases a fixed fee service. We also offer advice on some areas for those who qualify for Legal Aid.

Call the Family Law Solicitors at Forbes on freephone 0800 689 1058. You can also contact our Solicitors online or call our offices in Blackburn, Chorley or Preston.

18 May 2017



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