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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?

The court will not make a final decision on the council’s application at the First Appointment. But it is still very important that you attend this hearing because the court will make temporary arrangements for your child and explain what you need to do before the final hearing. At this first hearing the court:

  • makes orders (‘interim orders’) about where your child will live and who they will see from now until the final hearing of the case (see ‘What orders can the court make at the First Appointment?’); and
  • says what needs to happen and what evidence needs to be gathered for the case to proceed (known as ‘giving directions’).

The court can give directions about, among other things:

  • whether the case should be transferred to a higher court;
  • what statements, reports and assessments it needs, and who should prepare them – this may include social workers, family centre workers, teachers and other school staff, doctors, health visitors and any other professionals working with the child or your family;
  • when these statements should be filed (sent to the court) so that there is enough time for everyone involved to respond to them before the final hearing;
  • which experts can see the child (for example doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists) and when their reports must be filed at court;
  • asking the guardian to report on the child; and
  • any other procedural steps that need to be taken before the final hearing.

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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