A Care Order is an order which places a child under the care of the local authority; this is known as a child ‘being in care’. This doesn’t mean that the parent doesn’t have parental responsibility but the parent’s wishes can be overridden if the local authority believes it’s in the best interests of the child. On the other hand, the local authority must consult with the parent first.
When can a child be taken into care?
A child is only taken into care when a Court is satisfied that:
- The child is suffering, or likely to suffer significant harm.
- The harm, or its likelihood, results from the care the child is receiving.
- The child is beyond the ability of a parent to control.
- The child is being neglected (includes failure to seek medical attention when needed, not providing adequate food, drink and not keeping the child clean).
- The child has been, or is likely, to be abused – either by their parents, carers or others. This includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
When a local authority issues care proceedings they have a duty to look at the child’s extended family members as potential carers for the child. This is where grandparents play a huge role as it is usually the grandparents that step up and look after their grandchildren to avoid them being looked after by people they do not know (foster carers) in foster care. There is an assessment process for this in which we can advise you on in more detail even if your assessment is negative, that does not mean that you can not challenge it, this is where we can help you.
Sometimes grandparents can become approved foster carers for their own grandchildren otherwise known as kinship care, again please contact us for further details.