If Children’s Services and the Local Authority believe that a child in your care is suffering or is likely to suffer harm as a result of your care, they may decide to apply to the Court.
If Children’s Services think that your child should be removed from your care or that they need to share parental responsibility (PR), they will apply for a Care Order. If they consider that your family needs assistance but that your child does not need to be placed outside of the family, they will apply for a Supervision Order.
On rare occasions, in an emergency, alternative orders may be sought such as Emergency Protection Orders or Secure Accommodation Orders. It is also possible that the Police could become involved and remove your child under Police Protection.
The Court proceedings for Care or Supervision Orders are identical. The only difference is where your child will live whilst the proceedings are taking place and who will have PR.
In order for Children’s Services to persuade the Court that a Care or Supervision Order is needed, they need to show that your child is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm in your care. This is known as the Threshold Criteria.
At the end of the proceedings, the Court will make decisions as to the future of your child. This could involve the child being placed back in your care, in the care of a family member or outside the family. It is open to the Court to make a number of orders at the conclusion of the proceedings, including the following:
• Child arrangements Order
• Special Guardianship Order
• Supervision Order
• Care Order
• Placement Order which allows Children’s Services to place your child for Adoption