In the event the local authority makes an application to the court for a care order, a supervision order or an emergency protection order in respect of your child, you will be an automatic party to a care proceedings court case and you will need to attend the court hearings. Our specialist child care solicitors are available to advise and represent you in those proceedings, attending any meetings that are scheduled and representing you at all of the court hearings. Legal aid is usually available to all parents in these circumstances, making the advice and representation free of charge.
In the event we are not representing the parents in a care proceedings case, we can represent other family members such as grandparents who may come forward to care for their grandchild, or the child themselves through the instructions of their Childrens Guardian (CAFCASS). For family members, we will provide comprehensive advice on the full range of options, including the various legal orders available to them in the event that the final care plan is for the child to remain in their care in the long term; these include being a kinship carer under a care order, a special guardian under a special guardianship order or the holder of a child arrangements order. We will also ensure that your interests are fully represented in respect of seeking any support package and/or court order to enable you to care for the child in the long term, such as SGO financial allowance or a supervision order.
We also represent parents, family members and the children in care proceedings where a parent has applied for contact with a child who is already in care, or the parent has applied to discharge of a care order. We will assess your eligibility for legal aid and apply for funding to provide you with free legal advice and representation where possible.