Child Care Proceedings Solicitors

Our experienced child care proceedings solicitors specialise in representing parents and family members involved in local authority care proceedings.

If social services are involved with your family, it’s important that you seek legal advice immediately.

Why choose Barcan+Kirby

Our expert child care solicitors advise families across the South West from our offices in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol City Centre, Kingswood and Thornbury.

From your initial legal meeting with social services to representing you in court proceedings, our priority is to support you and your family.

Facing care proceedings is tough and many of our clients will have little experience of dealing with lawyers; our solicitors provide practical and empathetic advice throughout your case whilst protecting your best interests.

The welfare of the child is always of paramount importance in proceedings relating to child protection. Many of our family lawyers are members of the Law Society Children Panel and are accredited to represent children in care cases.

Our care proceedings expertise

Our expert child care proceedings lawyers advise parents, family members, children and Guardians across all aspects of care proceedings, working with our wider Family Law team where needed.

Our expertise includes:

Legal Aid for care proceedings

If you’re a parent who is involved in child care proceedings, you are entitled to automatic free Legal Aid. Our care proceedings solicitors can obtain this funding on your behalf and can also represent you at legal meetings with social services.

Our child care lawyers also represent grandparents and other family members. We can assess your eligibility for Legal Aid if you are not a parent.

Get in touch with our care proceedings solicitors

If you need advice on care proceedings or are seeking representation as a family member of a child who is involved in local authority care proceedings, we strongly recommend you seek legal advice before proceedings start.

Call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.

What are care proceedings?

Care proceedings take place when a local authority makes an application for an order when they are worried about a child’s safety and wellbeing.

The most common types of orders applied for by the local authority are Care Orders, Supervision Orders and Emergency Protection Orders, and Deprivation of Liberty Orders.

Care Orders

A care Order places a child under the protection of social services. If granted, this type of order gives the local authority parental responsibility for the child. The local authority can then make decisions relating to the child’s upbringing and welfare and move the child into foster care, if necessary.

The court can only grant the local authority a Care Order if the court agrees the child is being significantly harmed or is at risk of suffering significant harm at the hands of the child’s parents or if the parents are unable to protect the child from harm because they cannot control them.

Our specialist team can advise parents or other family members on challenging care orders where appropriate.

Supervision Orders

A Supervision Order is a different kind of order to support a child. This order sets out the legal requirement for a child to be supervised by social services. A Supervision Order is obtained through the court by the relevant local authority and gives the local authority a duty to advise, befriend and assist a child. This may be useful if a child may need additional support. It does not give the local authority parental responsibility.

As with a Care Order, a Supervision Order can only be granted if the court agrees a child is being, or is at risk of being, significantly harmed. Children will remain living at home or with another family member under a supervision order.

Emergency Protection Orders

An Emergency Protection Order aims to protect a child from immediate physical, mental, or emotional harm. As these types of orders are often made at short notice by the local authority, you must seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Powers of Police Protection

The Police may take action to protect a child if it considers the child to be at risk of harm. Such powers only last up to 72 hours.

How does the court decide what order to make?

The court is likely to want to see an assessment of parents. They may also want to see other evidence from people who know the children, such as the Health Visitor or school. The court may also require other evidence such as specialist assessments from a psychologist, Police evidence, or drug tests. Our team will be able to advise you on this.

Once all the evidence has been gathered, either agreement will be reached about the best plan for the children, or if an agreement cannot be reached, a final hearing will be listed for the court to decide on the arrangements for the child(ren).

Sometimes the court considers that it is unsafe for children to remain at home during the court case whilst evidence is gathered. This kind of case can be lengthy and take several months to conclude. They should take no more than six months, but many cases take longer.

The role of Cafcass

Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) represents children in family court cases in England. They look at what is safe for children and what is in their best interests and advise the court accordingly.

If care proceedings are started for your child, Cafcass will appoint a Guardian and solicitor for the child. The Guardian is independently appointed by the court and is the voice of the child. The Guardian will make recommendations to the court about what they believe is in the children’s best interests.

Contact our child care proceedings solicitors

Issues concerning child protection require advice from a specialist child care solicitor. Our care proceedings solicitors work with clients across the South West from our offices in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

To speak to a specialist lawyer about child care proceedings, call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.


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