This article was updated on 28 June 2022.
There are several different types of Court Orders relating to children which social workers can request, each with their own specific criteria, effects and time scales.
Our Care Proceedings Solicitors outline the different types of proceedings a social worker may consider for your family.
The Local Authority may start Care Proceedings when social workers have a serious concern in relation to the care and safety of your children. This may be because they are concerned that your child may have been neglected or physically, sexually or emotionally harmed or because the social worker believes there is a serious risk they might be at risk of this harm or at risk of neglect.
Social workers in your area may apply to the Court if their concerns are serious enough. Only a Court may approve the removal of a child from parents or carers. However, it is also permitted for the police to remove a child and place them in suitable alternative accommodation for up to 72 hours if they believe the child would otherwise suffer significant harm.
Social workers may sometimes ask you to agree to your child being looked after by a foster carer or relative. This can sometimes be a good temporary measure, but you should always take legal advice before agreeing to this and your consent must always be freely given. You may be asked to sign an agreement to s.20 accommodation.
There are times when children’s social workers are involved with a family for a long period of time before they consider Court proceedings, which should always be a last resort. However, social workers may go to Court immediately if they are very concerned for a child’s safety.