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29 Care Proceedings

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1. Introduction

2. Who can make decisions about my child´s care?

3. Why would the council get involved in my child’s care?

4. What if the council thinks my child is in immediate danger?

5. What should happen before the council decides to apply for a care order?

6. Can I get help to pay for a lawyer?

7. What happens when the council starts care proceedings?

8. Who will represent my child during proceedings?

9. What happens at the First Appointment?

10. What orders can the court make at the First Appointment?

11. What happens after an interim order is made?

12. How do I prepare for the final hearing?

13. What happens at the final hearing?

Your solicitor or barrister may have an informal meeting on the day of the hearing with the solicitors or barristers working for the council and the guardian. Your solicitor or barrister will talk to you about what the council and the guardian are going to say about what is best for your child. It is important that you understand what they are suggesting and the full consequences before you agree to anything. It is your solicitor or barrister’s job to explain this to you.

In some cases, the council may decide to withdraw its application before it goes to a final hearing. In others, it may still be possible for everyone to agree on what should happen and a full hearing will not be necessary. The court will still have to approve any agreement.

In many cases, there will be a full hearing. The court will read all the papers, statements and reports and the care plan before the hearing starts. Your solicitor will represent you at the hearing unless they arrange for a barrister to represent you. The court will hear evidence from any of the witnesses called by the council or anyone else involved in the case. You may also have to speak in the witness box. The court listens to everyone’s evidence to decide what order, if any, to make.

14. How does the court make its decision?

15. What types of order can the court make?

16. What must the council do after a care order is made?

17. How can I apply to end a care order?

18. Further help

19. About this leaflet

The leaflets in this series give you an outline of your legal rights. They are not a complete guide to the law and are not intended to be a guide to how the law will apply to you or to any specific situation. The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since this was written, so information in it may be incorrect or out of date.

If you have a problem, you will need to get more information or personal advice to work out the best way to solve it. See ‘Further help’ for sources of information and advice.

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Family Rights Group.

Leaflet Version: October 2008

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