These are the main orders the court can make if it is satisfied that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.
If the Local Authority is concerned that a child may be at immediate risk of harm, they can apply to the court for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO). The Local Authority will need to show the court that there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is likely to suffer significant harm if they are not removed to accommodation provided by the Local Authority. The Local Authority can also apply for an EPO on the grounds that their enquiries are being frustrated (e.g. access to the child is being unreasonably refused). The EPO is a temporary order that lasts for 8 days; it can be extended on one occasion for a further 7 days.
A Supervision Order requires the Local Authority to advise, assist and befriend the child. A Supervision Order does not grant the Local Authority parental responsibility. The Local Authority must, for the duration of the Order, offer support and advice to the family about how they can address the concerns that Children’s Services have about the child. The Supervision Order is usually between six months to one year. The Local Authority can apply to the court for an extension of the Supervision Order if they consider that the family has not made sufficient changes and they remain concerned. The Supervision Order can be extended up to a total of three years. The Supervision Order will lapse at the end of the specified date if no application is made to the court to extend it.
If the court grants a Care Order to the Local Authority, that Local Authority will share parental responsibility for the child and they can make decisions about the care of the child. The Local Authority should continue to consult the parents about the child’s education, upbringing and medical treatment.
If the court is satisfied that the child would be at risk if they were to return to the care of the parents or family members, the court can grant a Placement Order as well as a Care Order. A Placement Order allows the Local Authority to place the child with adoptive parents. The adoptive parents are able to apply to adopt the child after they have been in their care for three months.
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