What is a Care Order

Posted on: February 7th, 2023


A care order is an order that the Local Authority can apply for which allows them parental responsibility in respect of a child. Many parents do not realise they do not lose their parental rights and that they in fact share this with the Local Authority. However, the Local Authority can exercise their parental responsibility above that of anyone that also holds this if it is necessary to safeguard the welfare of the child.

As a care order is granted at the outset of court proceedings this is normally made by way of an interim care order initially. This order allows the Local Authority to determine where a child should reside this could be with parents/relatives, with foster carers or even a children’s home. The Local Authority, can at any time, place a child in alternative accommodation if concerns were to arise. In urgent situations this can be without notice to parents.

If a family is involved in public law proceedings by way of PLO or care proceedings, they are entitled to legal funding to assist with any legal fees and allow them to be represented throughout.



An application can be made to discharge a care order by a parent, the child or the Local Authority or any person that holds parental responsibility. If you are applying to discharge a care order, you must be able to demonstrate to the court that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the care order was made. If you are looking to discharge it, it is strongly advised, you seek legal advice/support.

In respect of funding to discharge a care order this is means/merit tested and a solicitor/legal representative will be able to advise further in respect of applying.

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