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29 Care Proceedings

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1 Introduction

2. Who can make decisions about my child's care?

3. Why would social services get involved in my child's care?

4. What happens when social services start care proceedings?

5. What happens at the first hearing?

The court will not make a final decision on the local authority’s application for a care order at a first hearing. At this hearing, which must take place within six days of the local authority’s application, the court must:

  • decide whether to make an interim care order or some other interim order (an order that will say where your child should live and who should look after him or her until the final hearing takes place). If there is a dispute about an order, the court should set a date for the dispute to be decided;
  • appoint a guardian and a solicitor to represent your child in the proceedings;
  • decide whether the case should be transferred to another court; and
  • decide how the case should be prepared for the final hearing.
  • It is very important that you attend this hearing as it sets the stage for how the case will progress until the final hearing.

6. What orders can the court make at the first hearing?

7. Who will represent my child during proceedings?

8. What happens after an interim order is made?

9. How do I prepare for the final hearing?

10. What happens at the final hearing?

11. How does the court make its decision?

12. What types of order can the court make?

13. How long does a care order last?

14. How can I apply to end a care order?

15. Further help

16. About this leaflet

The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.

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