Children and Social Services

Care Proceedings

Young girl smiling at camera

Care Proceedings

If matters are not resolved after the PLO meeting, social services will issue care proceedings if they believe the child is likely to suffer significant harm. Unless under emergency circumstances, care proceedings will only be issued after substantial efforts have been made to keep the child with their birth family.

How We Can Help

At Walker Family Law, we understand the extreme worry and anxiety that can be caused should you receive a call from social services. If you find yourself in this situation, it is crucial that you seek expert legal advice as soon as possible.

Our Care Team specialises in care proceedings cases and can help you navigate them with clarity and understanding. We regularly represent parents, children, and grandparents in court during care proceedings across the Southwest. Our Care Team are experts in child law; are members of the Children Panel and are Resolution accredited.

Our aim is to reduce the strain on you and your family by providing dedicated, compassionate legal support. We will make sure that you get a fair hearing, and we always endeavour to reach a child-focused outcome. Our team understands the emotional toll that these situations can have on families, and we are here to provide direct support and guidance every step of the way.

Contact the team today to arrange a consultation.

Legal aid

Legal aid may be available to help you obtain representation in your children case. Our team is here to answer your questions and provide guidance on your options for legal support.

What court orders can be issued after care proceedings?

At the conclusion of care proceedings, the court will typically issue an order that outlines the arrangements for the care and protection of the child(ren).

There are several types of orders that the court can make including:

  • Care Order: This gives the local authority parental responsibility of a child. The local authority will have the power to make decisions about the child’s welfare and where they should live. A care order is made when the court believes that a child is at risk of harm or neglect and needs to be taken into care. The order can last up until a child turns 18 unless the court decides to end it earlier.
  • Supervision Order: This means that the local authority will supervise a child’s welfare and development. The order is made when the court believes that the child needs extra support but does not require removal from their home. The order may set out certain conditions or requirements that the child or their parents must meet. A supervision order usually lasts for a period of 12 months, but this can be extended by the court.
  • Child Arrangements Order: This determines where and with whom a child should live, and how much time they spend with each parent. It can be made by the court as part of a divorce or separation agreement, or in cases where there are concerns about a child’s welfare. The order aims to promote the child’s welfare and ensure they maintain a positive relationship with both parents where possible.
  • Special Guardianship Order: This appoints a person as a child’s “special guardian”. The order gives the special guardian parental responsibility for the child, which means they can make decisions about the child’s upbringing, education, and medical treatment. Special guardianship orders are usually made when a child cannot live with their birth parents but does not need to be in care. The order lasts until a child turns 18, although it can be ended earlier by a court.
  • Placement Order: This authorises a local authority to place a child for adoption. The order is made when the court believes that adoption is in the best interests of the child and that their birth parents cannot provide them with the care and stability they need. A placement order gives the local authority the power to choose an adoptive family for the child. The order lasts for six months, during which time the local authority must make every effort to find a suitable adoptive family. If a family is found, the court will make an adoption order, which transfers parental responsibility to the adoptive parents.

Children and Social Services

Whether you have been invited to a Public Law Outline (PLO) meeting or are facing care proceedings, our expert team of lawyers will provide you with straightforward, practical advice. We will ensure that you receive a fair hearing, and we will endeavour to reach a child-focused outcome. 

Start a conversation today