Care Orders and Supervision Orders

We are leading family lawyers in Exeter. Our care proceedings solicitors specialise in representing families where social services have become involved with children, including where the local authority has made an application to the court for a supervision order or care order in respect of a child. We can also advise on legal aid for care proceedings.

A Supervision Order has the effect of placing a child or children under the supervision of a local authority, for a maximum period of 12 months.

A Care Order has the effect of placing a child or children in the care of a local authority for as long as that Order remains in force. If a child is subject to a Care Order (including an interim Care Order) the local authority shares parental responsibility for the child with the parents and will make the decision about where the child lives.

Threshold for social services intervention

When a local authority applies to the court for a Care or a Supervision Order, whether its aim is to remove the child from the care of the parents or to provide targeted input to the child at home, it must demonstrate that the child concerned has suffered or is at risk of suffering significant harm and that harm is attributable to the parenting or lack of parenting the child has been receiving, or that the child is beyond parental control. This is called the ‘threshold’. The local authority will set out a summary of its concerns in a threshold document to which the parents will then respond.

Legal representation in care proceedings

Applications by the local authority for a Care or Supervision Order are generally referred to as ‘care proceedings’. Parents, or those with parental responsibility, will be automatically eligible for legal aid for care proceedings. This means that legal advice and representation by a care proceedings lawyer will be free.

The child or children who are the subject of the ‘care proceedings’ will also be represented in the court proceedings and a ‘Children’s Guardian’ will be appointed. This person is not a ‘guardian’ in the sense of looking after the child on a day to day basis, but rather is an independent person with a social work background who will meet with everyone, including the child, and who advises the court as to what they believe to be in the child’s best interests.

If you appoint us, a named care proceedings lawyer will deal with your case from start to finish. You will be given clear and focused advice throughout your case, including guidance about your position. We will keep you fully informed about each stage and any outcomes.

To make an enquiry or book an appointment with a care proceedings solicitor, please contact Mark Fairchild, Family Team Administrator.

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