Common questions asked by a parent in care proceedings

Posted on: December 13th, 2022

Tracy Smith, trainee legal executive has prepared answers to the most common questions asked in care proceedings. Tracey Smith

What happens during proceedings?

Proceedings are issued by the Local Authority when they make an application to the court to request an order is made to allow them to assist a parent with the ongoing care or seek protection of a child who is at risk of suffering emotional or physical harm.

During the proceedings the court has continual oversight to ensure that matters are dealt with fairly and that parents are correctly represented. The court will throughout proceedings provide directions, and these can be by way of any assessments/ reports or work that parents/family members are to undertake.

Any assessments/reports or work undertaken is to help assist in building a picture for the court to help determine where the safest place for a child within care proceedings should live in the long term.

How long do proceedings take?

The court will aim to make a decision in respect of a child in proceedings within a 26-week time frame (about 6 months). This is not always manageable as complexity of matters can vary and in these cases an application will have to made and agreed by the court to go outside of the 26 weeks.

Can I get legal advice and support?

All parents/or people who hold parental responsibility whose children are subject to care proceedings are entitled to legal advice and representation at court. It is strongly recommended that if the Local Authority does become involved with a family legal advice is always sought.

Can I get help with legal fees?

Anyone, be it parent/guardian who hold parental responsibility for a child in care proceedings is automatically entitled to free legal aid. Legal Aid will fund all costs related to your case. This will include any legal advice/representation and court fees. In very isolated cases depending on income and savings, some people could be asked to contribute towards their legal costs.

Talk to the experts

If you require any of our legal services or you're not sure where to get started, please contact us at our Redcar High Street office and our solicitors will guide you every step of the way.

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