Care Proceedings

Advice for grandparent carers and kinship carers
Many grandparent or kinship carers have had no experience of social services or of the courts. Suddenly they find that the local authority has started proceedings for a care order in respect of their grandchild or the child they are caring for.

When do local authorities start care proceedings?
If Children’s Services thinks there is reasonable cause to believe that the child

  • is suffering;
  • or is likely to suffer significant harm;
  • either because the care the child’s parents are giving  him or her is not adequate;
  • or because the child is out of the parents’ control,

then they can apply to the court for a care order to authorise the long term removal of the child from the parents’ care. [sections 31 and 38, Children Act 1989]

This enables a local authority to share parental responsibility with anyone else who already has parental responsibility. This is usually the parents.

A care order gives the local authority the power to make plans for the child’s future.

The local authority may make plans to provide accommodation for the child with alternative family carers or foster carers.

What should you do?
If you are caring for a child at the time the care proceedings are started or if you want to be assessed as a carer for a child you need to have expert advice. You should contact us immediately.

In some cases the local authority and even the court thinks there is no need for grandparent carers or kinship carers to be made parties to the care proceedings. This means that decisions may be made about the future of the child you are caring for without your voice being heard. This is all the more reason for you to seek our expert advice.

Some grandparents are not aware of proceedings until they are well underway. They hear then that the local authority are applying for a placement order

What is a placement order?
If a local authority regards that a child needs to be placed permanently with an alternative family, they may apply to the court for a placement order which then gives the local authority permission to place a child for adoption. [section 21, Adoption and Children Act 2002]

For more detailed information on Care Proceedings see

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What our clients say:

  • I feel so lonely. My one salvation is a Facebook page that I managed to find and it was through this that I found out about Ridley & Hall and am so thankful I have – prior to this I felt I was the only person going through what I am.

  • This guy is amazing he’s helped me so much and I actually think he’s not in his job for the money. He does what he believes in and that’s the difference between him and most solicitors. I’ve had several phone calls with Nigel also a huge amount of emails and even a court appearance from 1 of his colleagues when we thought things was going wrong with our last SGO and I’ve never paid a penny for his help just about to start legal correspondence to LA and I can honestly say he’s not charging the earth. Keep doing what you do best Nigel you change people’s lives.

  • Thank goodness for people like you

    Comment from Kinship Carers Support Group UK
  • “Being at the ‘sharp end’ Nigel you are more aware than most that we are the cinderella service… Thanks for your concern…” | “Thanks Nigel for being in our corner.” | “Thank you for all your help and support.” | “Thanks for all your help” | “Thank you for supporting us x” | “Thank you for always putting our case forward so eloquently, Nigel. xx”

    Comments from Kinship “Foster” Carers Group
  • All SGO’s are so lucky to have you in their corner. We knew how privileged we were to have you in ours. More power to your elbow Nigel keep up the good work x

  • A huge thank you to Nigel for making what could have been a god awful day not so awful. He was amazing. Nigel clearly knew exactly what he was doing and we have complete faith in his abilities and we both feel as if we can move forward a bit now, Thank you again

  • Thank you so much for being on our side. It’s been a very stressful process. Why it has to be so hard to do what is best for these children is beyond me. I could not have got through without your help.

  • When this process started we both felt so alone and scared, not knowing what was going to happen or what to do about it. When I found Nigel’s details and read through the website, I was reassured you would be able to help us before I even contacted you. We contacted you upon receipt of the care order papers and were immediately reassured. You were both so understanding and non-judgemental. Up until that point we had always blamed ourselves for the breakdown but you helped us see that it wasn’t our fault and fought for us against the local authority. We will be forever grateful to you for standing by us and fighting so hard for us. Its given us both a real sense of ‘closure’ and we feel able to begin our lives once again.

  • Nigel Priestley is my solicitor too. I have just had my special guardianship order granted on Wednesday. If he thinks something is wrong he will query it and, most importantly of all, he makes his clients feel valued. He and his colleagues have been brilliant throughout the last 6 months for me and as I have said he listens to you…… he doesn’t seem to be led by social services so please contact him. xx

    Contributor on the KinKids Facebook page
  • I think your solicitor needs changing. I see it all the time on [Facebook}. They use family law solicitors who don’t have the full grasp of kinship and these solicitors end up agreeing a compromise with the social worker whereas Nigel Priestley goes in both guns blazing for whats best for the kids x

    Contributor to Kinkids support group on Facebook