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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?

The Children’s Services Department in your local council is responsible for making sure that children are safe and are well cared for by their parents or the people looking after them.

Sometimes the council receives information that makes them worried about a child’s welfare. If it believes that your child may be harmed, it will investigate and decide whether action is necessary to protect your child (this work is known as ‘child protection’). The council must get the court’s permission to take any action you disagree with. Here ‘court’ means judges or magistrates who make decisions about children.

If the council believes that your child is suffering serious harm or is likely to suffer serious harm, it can apply to the court for a care order (known as ‘care proceedings’). A care order would give the council permission to remove your child from your care. The council should do this only if it thinks this is the best way to ensure your child is properly protected, because:

  • the care you are giving (or have given) your child is not what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give; or
  • your child is out of your control.

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?

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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