The law on social services and care proceedings is very particular. Royce Legal recognises the need for expert advice and representations at care proceedings. Our Family Law team is friendly and well versed in several languages to help guide you in the best way possible.
What are Child Care Proceedings?
Child care proceedings are extremely worrisome. The involvement of social services with your family makes the entire process stressful and overwhelming. Especially, in the event that social services have warned and are considering the removal of your child from your care. Royce Legal can help you at any stage of the process.
Who starts the Child Care Proceedings?
Social services can decide to issue care proceedings if concerns for the child’s welfare are in question. Whether these concerns are justified or not, the thought of having your child taken away is a stressful and disturbing time for parents.
Social Services can apply for a care order. It gives parental responsibility of your children to the council and will decide where your child or children will get to live.
The local authority can also apply for a placement order for the adoption of the child. This order gives the council permission to place the child in foster care and live with suitable adopters.
Please bear in mind that care proceedings are called for the well-being and best interest of the child or children. The priority is to ensure the happiness, health, and comfort of the child and provide them security from any harm or risk of it.
Child Care Orders (Public Proceedings)
The Children’s Act of 1989 is applied by the court prior to making any order for the care or supervision of the child or children. Individuals involved in the case are:
- The child/children’s guardian (appointed by the court);
- The child/children’s solicitor;
- Family Social worker;
- Parents or other adults with parental responsibility for the child/children.
A care order hands parental responsibility to the local authorities granting them to make decisions on the child/children’s behalf. In most cases, children remain at home but can be placed in foster families or handed to other blood family members for care. It does not mean that the parent no longer has parental responsibility, but their wishes are mostly overruled if Local authorities believe they are against the best interest of the child/children.
The child/children get to stay with their parent(s), but the local authorities are involved and have a say in the making decisions for the child/children. It enables the local authorities to befriend and guide the family and can last for a year unless extended by request.
Special Guardianship Order
The special guardianship order provides shared parental responsibility to the parent(s) and the appointed guardian – decisions for the child are made together. These orders are given when the child/children are living with extended family or close friends that have been assessed.
Emergency Protection Order
If the child is at risk of suffering immediate harm, the local authorities apply to the Court for an Emergency Protection Order. This order lasts for 8 days along with the removal of the child/children from their usual home. In some cases, children are authorised to stay where they are – in the care of a family member or a hospital
Child Arrangements Order (private proceedings)
If you have separated or divorced from your partner and are struggling to reach an agreement about the living arrangements (residence and contact) for your child, then you can apply for the Child Arrangements Order to the Court. These are classified as private proceedings, and social services are not involved in them.
The order specifies which parent the child will reside and spend their time with and how often they spend time with them.
Alternative Children Orders:
Specific issue order: to decide on specific issues regarding the child, such as the school the child/children should attend.
Prohibited Steps Order: This prevents your ex-partner from taking them to prohibited locations.
The laws on adoption are stated under the adoption and children act 2002. The requirements of this legislation are considered in reference to the Children Acts 1989. Once you have made an Adoption Order by the Court, the child is now legally a natural and legitimate child of the adopter(s). In simpler words, the child is now only the child of the adopters.
Adoption orders are commonly made through the intervention of local authorities and after child care proceedings. Subsequently, not all children are adopted because of the fault of the parents. Nevertheless, a natural parent can give their consent for the child’s adoption.
How to Become an Approved Adopter?
There are two stages to becoming an approved adopter. The process takes 6 months.
Stage 1: Registration of Interest Form
Register your interest in becoming an adopter by filling the form. Your attendance is required in adopter preparation groups so you can learn more about the process, and meet the needs of adopted children. These groups will also provide training to prepare you as an adopter. Apart from this, background and reference checks are also performed to ensure your suitability as an adopter. The first stage takes 2 months to complete.
Stage 2: A Positive Assessment:
You will be assessed in-depth on your suitability and readiness to adopt. Meetings with social workers are necessary and will result in a Prospective Adopters Report. This report is presented to the local Adoption Panel which makes the final decision on your eligibility as an adopter. Once approved by the Adoption Panel, you can then begin the process of finding the right child or children for you.
FAQS Regarding Adoption Law
Who can adopt a child?
Single individuals or couples (married, in a civil partnership, cohabitating or a same-sex relationship) can adopt a child/children. The adopter(s) must be 21 years of age or older.
Can you adopt step-children?
Stepparents can adopt step-children/child with the consent of all the people with parental responsibility. If someone with parental responsibility refuses permission for adoption, you will have to seek court intervention or use a dispute resolution to reach an agreement.
Can Natural Parents oppose an Adoption Order?
For a natural parent to oppose an adoption order, the Court’s permission is required. You will also need to provide a “sufficient change of circumstance” for opposing the adoption along with the potential impact on the child/children in question.
Only a Parent or Guardian having parental responsibility for a child/children can oppose the adoption order. Extended family members, friends or unmarried fathers (not having obtained parental responsibility would need to apply under the Children Act 1989 for permission for a child arrangement order to oppose the adoption order.
Why Choose Royce Legal Solicitors
Royce Legal Solicitors have always advised with your best interest as a priority. Our Child Care Law department approaches each case with sensitivity and with an understanding of how complex these matters are. We believe it is essential to have the best representation to get your story heard if concerns are raised about your child. Royce Legal Draws upon our expertise and skill in this field to offer you counsel and achieve the best outcome for your particular situation. For more information, visit our website or contact us at – for a free initial consultation.