Child Protection Orders

Child Protection and Care Orders

The threat of having a child taken into care is most parent’s words nightmare. Dealing with Social services can be a daunting process but Social Services must follow certain procedures before they can remove a child from its parents. These procedures include:
  • Section 47 enquiry
  • Pre-proceedings Letter
  • Reports by Social Services
  • Pre-proceedings Meeting.
As soon as the parents, guardians or carers have received the Pre-proceedings Letter, they are then entitled to Legal Aid and the advice of a Social Services solicitor who can then deal directly with Social Services and guide parents through the process. Your solicitor will also be able to present your case at the Pre-proceedings Meeting.
You will receive the reports that Social Services will discuss at the Pre-proceedings Meeting in advance, so that you can discuss it with your solicitor.

If your child or children are old enough to understand what is happening, they will also receive a copy of the reports from Social Services and they will be allowed to attend the Pre-proceedings Meeting.
It is important to contact a family solicitor as soon as possible so the solicitor has the maximum amount of time to prepare your argument to Social Services.

It is also worth noting that unless a child or children are at immediate risk or have already been harmed, a Pre-proceedings Meeting does not necessarily mean children will be removed from their family.

Supervision Orders.

It is possible to apply to the court to prevent Social Services obtaining a Care Order. In some cases Social Services may agree to supervise families for a period of time set out in the Supervision Order.

A supervision order gives your local authority the power monitor your child’s needs and progress. A social worker will be appointed to advise, help and befriend the child. The appointed Social Worker will also be able to provide help and support to the family as a whole.

In some cases, conditions can be attached to a supervision order, these can include agreeing to allow a supervisor to visit the child at home etc.

How is a supervision order made?

In order for a Supervision Order to be granted the local authority must first apply. They will normally do this if they have legitimate concerns that a child is suffering significant harm, or is likely to suffer significant harm, and the harm is because:
  • of the care being provided by the parent
  • the child is beyond parental control.
If there is little or no evidence to back up these claims, then the court can’t make an order. If however there is evidence, the court will decide whether it should make a supervision order, a care order or no order at all.
The first court hearing is called a Case Management Hearing. The hearing should take place no later than 12 days after the date the papers have been issued. A timetable for future hearings will also be worked out and you will be informed of the dates. You will of course have the right to attend court and have your say on whether a supervision order should be made. Alternatively your family solicitor can speak on your behalf. If you would like a solicitor to represent you, please contact us and we will ask of our family solicitors to contact you to discuss your case. It is worth noting that Legal Aid is available for these matters.
How long does a supervision order last?

A supervision order is in place for one year, but it can be discharged earlier or indeed extended for a total of up to three years if needed.
Can I appeal against a supervision order?

It is possible to appeal against a supervision order, but they are very rarely successful. If a supervision order is granted, you are required to work closely with the local authority and appealing against the supervision order could make that difficult. If you want to appeal against a supervision order then we would recommend speaking to one of our family solicitors first so they can evaluate your chances of successfully appealing.
What happens if I break the conditions of the supervision order?

If you break the conditions set out in a supervision order, it doesn’t automatically mean that the order will automatically be changed into a care order, however if the local authority feel that your child or children are at risk they can then apply for a Care Order.

If you need any help or advice regarding child proctection issues, care or supervision orders please telephone us on 0333 2070 601.

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