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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?

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?

Once a care order is made, the council must always ensure that your child is kept safe and is well cared for. They should support you so that, unless the risks to your child are too high, they can return to your care, or to the care of other members of your family. If that is not possible, the council is likely to arrange for other people to care for your child on a long-term basis. These might be relatives or foster carers.

While your child is under a care order, the council must hold regular case reviews every six months to consider how its plans for your child may need to change. An Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO), who is separate from the people dealing with your child, will be appointed to look at the care plan.

At your child’s review meetings, the IRO should make sure your views are heard, even if you cannot attend or you have not been invited. Your other commitments should be taken into account when arranging a date and time for the review meeting. If you do not speak English, the council should make sure you have an interpreter. It should also make sure that you can get to the meeting if you are disabled. If you cannot attend the meeting, the council should tell you about all the decisions made there.

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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