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Child Care Solicitors

Family Law


Supporting You During Child Care Proceedings

Cartwright King is a Legal 500 law firm that has been accredited by the Law Society for our expertise in dealing with advanced family law matters and children law. Whatever your circumstances, you can rely on our child care solicitors to deal with your case professionally and without judgment. You can be sure that we will do everything we can to keep your family together.

How our Child Care Solicitors can help

Here are some of the things our child care solicitors can do for you:

  • We take urgent action and do everything in our power to achieve the best possible outcome when the social services have applied to have your child removed from your care via Care or Supervision Orders.
  • We help grandparents obtain a special guardianship order (SGO) to take care of their grandchildren while child care proceedings are in progress.
  • We offer advice on all problems that can result in care proceedings, such as allegations of abuse, the death of a parent, mental health issues, situations involving parents who are non-UK nationals.
  • We liaise with the special services during an ongoing investigation to ensure that the process is completed as quickly and efficiently as possible and that the rights of you and your family are protected. 

We assist and liase with the local authority to arrange contact between parents and their children who have been placed in care as a result of child care proceedings.  

Why Choose Cartwright King to Represent my Child Care Case?

Child care cases can come before the Courts very quickly and require immediate action from parents and solicitors. Our childcare solicitors are used to dealing with matters at short notice and can quickly respond to changing situations.

Cartwright King is a respected law firm with offices in London and other major locations throughout the UK. We have been recognised by the Legal 500 for the exceptional legal services we offer. Our child care specialists have a wealth of experience in dealing with people from all walks of life and working with families facing all kinds of problems from mental health to substance abuse and from domestic abuse to injured children.

We are here to help you, not judge you. We will do everything we can to achieve the best possible outcome. Our experienced child care solicitors can talk to you about different ways forward at each stage of your case so that you can make informed choices based on sound advice and knowing all the options available to you.

How much will it cost?

In most cases, Legal Aid is available for Child Care Proceedings. Parents and family members who have parental responsibility for a child or children will automatically qualify for Legal Aid and free legal advice.

To discuss your eligibility for Legal Aid, please call us, or email your enquiry.

If you don’t automatically qualify for Legal Aid, in certain circumstances, we can make an application for Legal Aid and our solicitors can discuss this option with you and talk to you about the circumstances where you may qualify for funding.

We're here for you.

Frequently asked questions.

When local authority social services decide that their involvement with a family is necessary to keep a child safe, they may start a court case. Such a case is often called a ‘public law’ case or care proceedings. This usually happens when the social services have already tried to make things safer (by working with the family of through the Public law Outline procedure) for the child but feel like it doesn’t work, and nothing has changed.

If the child is in real danger, the police may remove them from their current residence for up to 72 hours – this is known as police protective powers, and is then usually followed by care proceedings. Under an Emergency Protection Order, the Court might authorise the removal of children for up to 8 days.

It is worth mentioning that unless the removal is performed by the police, the social services can’t remove your children from your care without a court order or your agreement.

There are a few types of hearings happening during child care proceedings. These are:

  • Case Management Hearing – a short hearing to establish when and how the case is going to be decided.
  • Contested Removal Hearing – if the local authority wants to remove the child from where they are living, but the carers or parents do not agree with that, the Court will hold a contested removal hearing to make a decision about where the children should live whilst the proceedings are ongoing.
  • Issues Resolution Hearing – after all the evidence is gathered, the assessments are completed and all of the parties, including the children’s family have set out what they think should happen, the Court holds an issues resolution hearing to see what issues can be resolved.
  • Final Hearing – if all the issues cannot be resolved during the issues resolution hearing, the Court will hold a final hearing, during which it will hear all the evidence, as well as the arguments.

A Court can be asked to make four main types of orders:

  • Supervision Order – when the Court makes this order, the local authority has a duty to to advise, assist and befriend or children and to support the family. This order can be made for up to 12 months, but can be extended by a further 2 years if needs be. the child when they deem it necessary – however, it does not give it parental responsibility nor power in terms of making decisions. In most cases, if this order is made, the child remains within the family.
  • Special Guardianship Order – with this order, Special Guardians (who are usually family members) care for the child or children. They also gain parental responsibility for them They make most of the decisions in terms of the child’s welfare and special guardians have the final say in decision making about the children.
  • Care Order – This order gives the local authority parental responsibility, meaning that it will be responsible for making decisions in terms of education or health. It is also in charge of day-to-day parenting decisions for the child. In most cases, if the Court makes this order, the child will live with foster carers or with a family member. While the parents still retain their parental responsibility, it is the Local authority who make the day to day decisions about the children and look after them.
  • Placement Order – If the Court decides that the best interests of the children are for them to be placed outside of the family, a placement order can be made alongside a care order. This allows the Local Authority to look for and approve an adoptive family for the child or children.

Before the Court makes a Care Order or a Supervision Order, it needs to decide that the child either already has or is at risk of suffering harm because of the care they are receiving.

In many cases, the Court is asked to make an Interim Care Order or an Interim Supervision Order – interim means “temporary” or “in the meantime” and these orders last whilst the Court is able to undertake all the necessary assessments and gather all of the information needed to allow the Judge to be able to make long term decisions about children. . They work in the same way regular, long term Supervision and Care Orders do; however, the difference is that they only last until the end of the court case.

In most cases, the Court will try to make a decision in regards to what happens to your child within 26 weeks (6 months) from when the application has been started.

If your child is taken into care because of a Care Order, your council will share responsibility for making most of the important decisions about your child’s upbringing, including:

  • who looks after them
  • where they live
  • how they are educated
  • How often they will see their family members

Whether you agree to your child becoming ‘looked after’ by the Local Authority, or if a court makes a care order, you’ll continue to have parental responsibility for your child and will still have to be notified about decisions and kept informed about your children.

In either case, the council is responsible for:

  • making sure that the children are cared for
  • making sure only suitable people are employed to look after your child
  • providing proper training and support to foster carers or family members looking after your children
  • listening to your child’s views and your views about care arrangements and taking their religion, race, culture, and background into account
  • making sure your child has someone independent to talk to and knows how to complain if necessary
  • holding regular “looked after child” meetings about your child or children and inviting you to go to participate in those meetings

The child may be placed with either:

  • another relative
  • a foster carer
  • a children’s home

If a child is looked after by the Local Authority either during or after proceedings, they have a duty to promote reasonable contact for the child with you if you are a parent, guardian or someone who cared for child (under a court order) before the child was placed in foster care.

As soon as you receive any court papers, you should call us immediately.

The safety and security of your child will be the priority, but the social worker should try to do all they can to cause as little disruption to their lives as possible and should listen to your and your child’s views and take them seriously.

A child protection lawyer or a child care solicitor specialises in legal child care proceedings related to concerns about the care a child receives. They deal with complex proceedings involving care orders, and emergency protection orders. Typically, a childcare lawyer provides specialist legal advice and represents parents and grandparents in custody battles, as well as communicate with social services workers.

If a child is believed to be at risk or to be receiving inadequate care, child protection authorities can intervene. Even though keeping families together is the preferred solution, if this could result in harm to the child, then social services can take legal action to remove the child from their parents. 

If an application to remove a child from your care has been made, you will be notified (with the expedition of emergency situations) and you should seek legal counsel urgently. 

The child care proceedings in Court begin with a hearing. You will first be notified by social Services that you will be expected to appear in court. Within a few days of being told, you will be assigned a Court hearing date. 

If a child under your care is believed to be in imminent danger, the Social Services have the right to ask the Judge to have the child removed from your care at the first hearing. This is an extreme solution, so a Judge will only rule in favour of such application if they believe that there is no other way to protect the child but to separate them from you. 

If this happens, then the social services have to provide alternative living arrangements for your child. They will be either placed in foster care or with a relative if a child arrangement order or interim care order is put in place.

To be fully prepared for your appearance in Court and to minimise the chance of having your child removed, you should consult with one of our child care lawyers before your first hearing.

If you believe a child may be at risk, you should contact the relevant child protection authorities as soon as possible. If you are unsure how to proceed, Cartwright King’s child care solicitors have offices across the UK and we are just a phone call away, ready to offer the advice and support you need.