The number of new care proceedings cases being issued by Local Authorities in England and Wales continues to rise.
According to records released by CAFCASS, the children and family advisory and support service who represent children’s interests in family court proceedings, 34% more cases were started in August 2016 than in the same month the previous year. Over 2016 as a whole so far, the figure currently stands at an increase of 23%.
You can read about the figures collected by CAFCASS here:
Local Authorities can start court proceedings in relation to a child if they fear that the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering significant harm or the child is beyond parental control. During care proceedings, the court will consider whether it agrees with the Local Authority that this threshold has been made out. If the court does agree that the child has suffered significant harm, the court has the power to make orders which direct where a child should live. These include deciding that a child should no longer live with its parents but should instead be cared for in foster care or be adopted.
Free legal representation is available to those parents who are involved in care proceedings. In contrast to public funding for other family law matters, this funding is not means or merits tested. This means funding is granted by the Legal Aid Agency to all parents whose children are subject of proceedings regardless of the parents’ income.
At Ringrose Law we have a team of family lawyers who are specialists in child care proceedings. If you are worried about social services’ involvement with your children or you require advice on any aspects of family law please contact our family law team at our offices in Lincoln, Boston, Spalding, Sleaford, Grantham and Newark.