A Placement Order allows a local authority to find an adoptive family for a child and place the child with potential adopters. Adoption is actually a two stage process legally – before an adoption order can be made a child has to be “placed” with a suitable family for a set amount of time and only if that “placement” is successful can an adoption order be applied for. A placement order therefore allows the local authority to place the child with that family. An application for a placement order is usually made towards the end of care proceedings and will usually be dealt with as part of that Court case.
The Court will only make a placement order if it is in the child’s best interests throughout his or her life. The court must take into account a number of factors as set out in what is called the “ welfare checklist” .
If you are dealing with court proceedings for a Placement Order or you are struggling with decisions relating to your child, it is in your best interests to acquire professional legal advice at the earliest opportunity. At Cartwright King, we take a non-judgemental, professional approach to our client’s cases and acknowledge your right to legal representation. Our acclaimed Child Care solicitors will put your mind at ease by supporting you through the legal proceedings and representing you in court if the need arises.
Free initial telephone consultation
Everyone has the right to advice if they are dealing with child care issues or decisions. Our experienced lawyers are available at any time to help you. Our highly skilled Child Care team are here to help over a number of offices nationally.
We will happily provide an initial free telephone consultation to discuss your situation in more detail. Legal aid is available on a means and merits basis but we are also able to provide a quote for privately paying fees should you not qualify for legal aid.
What is a Placement Order?
A Placement Order authorise s the local authority to place a child with a prospective adoptive family, usually at the end of care proceedings and before an adoption order is applied for. The placement order permits the child to live with the prospective adoptive family. Placement Orders can be made with or without parental consent or in certain situations where consent is not needed from the parents.
In situations where a birth mother has just had her baby, her consent is not valid within the first six weeks of the child being born. If a child is under six weeks old and has been placed with an adoption agency, they are required to look after the child until it reaches 6 weeks and then request parental consent or they can apply for a Placement Order.
In certain situations where the parent or guardian cannot be located or if they are for whatever reason incapable of giving their agreement, their consent may not be needed. The court can also rule that consent is dispensed with when the welfare of the child requires it. In this situation, the court must still consider the impact adoption would have on the child and the effect that would have on their relationship with their birth family together with a number of other matters.
In circumstances where the child is the subject of a Care Order or there is no parental consent, only the local authority can apply for a placement order. A court cannot make a placement order unless reasonable efforts have been made to notify those with parental responsibility for the child (namely the parent or guardian) that an application for a placement order has been made.
Information on Placement Orders for parents
The social worker will be able to arrange for your child to live with a prospective adoptive family which is referred to as ‘being placed for an adoption’. In this situation, until an Adoption Order has been made, you will share parental responsibility for your child with children’s services. In this situation, children’s services have the ability to limit the decisions you can make about your child.
If you, as the parent or guardian, consent to a Placement Order you are giving a free unconditional agreement to the child’s adoption taking place. You can withdraw your consent up until the Adoption Order has been granted. Your consent must be witnessed by an officer of CAFCASS to be valid. If a parent is mentally ill or does not have the capacity to consent and are deemed incapable of making an agreement, the court can dispense with parental consent.
How we can help
If you are dealing with a Placement Order or have questions about decisions relating to a child in your care it is in your best interests to get legal advice on the matter as soon as possible. Our experienced Child Care lawyers are here to advise and assist you throughout the entire process. They will –
- Treat your case in a non-judgemental, sensitive manner.
- Deal confidentially with any concerns you may have
- Respond to the case matters on your behalf
- Represent you at court hearings
- Prepare and collate any and all documentary evidence that may be required
- Take the worry off your hands
- Prepare an appeal if necessary and advisable.
Our team are highly ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners guides. We have extensive experience in dealing with all types of child protection matters , with our acclaimed Child Care solicitors who are renowned for their professional approach.
You may be eligible for Legal Aid which can be discussed at the initial meeting.
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