At MB Law Ltd Solicitors, we aim to provide a wide range of legal advice covering all areas of Family Law. Our Family team comprises of experienced solicitors, Trainee solicitors and Paralegals who take on all levels of work and thrive to assist members of community in all aspects of matrimonial difficulties.
Our Child Care department approaches each case with understanding and empathy to assist the difficult and emotional proceedings involving parents and their children. Public Funding is readily available to all parents and is non means and merits tested provided that the court proceedings have been issued by the Local Authority. Public Funding is also considered for Grandparents who may wish to be involved in such proceedings to care for their grandchildren. However, this is means and merits tested. We also assist pre proceedings meetings which is referred to as the Public Law Outline procedure. Legal Help is offered to parents who received the Notice of Intention letter from the social services and require to be represented at the Public Law outline meeting. It is crucial that parents are legally represented at these meetings to prevent the need for the authorities to issue court proceedings. Public Law Proceedings usually involve local authorities initiating court proceedings in respect of the child/children concerned where they have concerns about their welfare, where the child is at a risk of harm or has been harmed. The proceedings often include where the Local Authority have applied for a Police/Emergency Protection Order, a Care Order, Supervision Order or a Section 20 agreement. The following orders are the most commons orders sought by the Local Authority:
A Care Order
A Care Order gives Social Services Parental Responsibility, which is the power to make all-important decision regarding a child who is subject to a Care Order. A Care Order lasts until a child is 18 unless the order is discharged before then, which can be made on an application by the Local Authority, parent or the child. Although it does not take away the Parental Responsibility of a parent, the parent can only exercise the right in so far as Social Services will allow. In practice this means that Social Services has a duty to consult with the parent, but they are not obliged to follow their wishes. Social Services have a duty to offer reasonable contacts to any parent and anyone else who is in the family who is important to the child. Further the Court has the power to define the level of contact if there is a disagreement. A parent or a person who has parental responsibility for the child, can make an application to discharge a Care Order six months after the Original Order was made or at any time after that.
A Supervision Order
A Supervision Order is much less powerful order. It gives Social Services the duty “advice, assist and befriend” the child. It does not give the Local Authority Parental Responsibility for the child or power to take the child away from home or to overrule the wishes of the parent. In some cases, the Court we will also make directions, which give Social Services the power to make certain requirements for a child. Although a Supervision Order can last for a maximum of one year, it can be renewed for a further two years at the end of that year.
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Please contact our Child Care department for further assistance on 0208 863 3666 or email us at email@example.com.