Care Orders

Navigate the complexities of care orders with NLS. Our expert solicitors provide effective legal support to help families achieve the best outcomes in care proceedings.

Understanding the complexities of care orders can be challenging and emotional. At National Legal Service, our team of specialist care solicitors is dedicated to providing expert legal support to parents and guardians facing care orders. 

What Are Care Orders?

Care orders are legal directives issued by a family court that place a child under the care and supervision of a local authority. The primary purpose of care orders is to protect the welfare and safety of children who are at risk of harm or neglect in their current living situations. There are different types of care orders, each serving a specific function depending on the circumstances of the case.

Types of Care Orders

The two main types of care orders are interim care orders and full care orders. Interim care orders are temporary measures put in place during the initial stages of care proceedings. These orders allow the local authority to take necessary steps to protect the child while a thorough investigation is conducted, and a final decision is made. Interim care orders are usually reviewed every few weeks until a full care order is either granted or the child is returned to their parents.

Full care orders, on the other hand, are long-term arrangements that transfer parental responsibility to the local authority until the child reaches the age of 18 or until the order is discharged by the court. Under a full care order, the local authority has the authority to make significant decisions about the child’s welfare, including their education, healthcare, and living arrangements.

The Legal Framework and Criteria for Issuing Care Orders

Care orders are issued under the Children Act 1989, which provides the legal framework for protecting children at risk of harm. The court considers several factors before issuing a care order, including the child’s physical and emotional needs, the ability of the parents or guardians to meet those needs, and any history of abuse or neglect. The court’s primary focus is always the welfare of the child, ensuring that their best interests are met.

Our solicitors provide professional support to parents and guardians from the initial consultation to the final court hearing and we are committed to guiding you through each stage. We will help you understand your options and ensure that you are well-prepared to participate in the legal process.

The Process of Obtaining a Care Order

The process of obtaining a care order begins with the local authority filing an application with the family court. This application outlines the reasons why the care order is necessary and provides evidence to support the claims of risk or harm to the child. Once the application is filed, the court schedules an initial hearing where all parties involved can present their case.

During the initial hearing, the court may issue an interim care order to provide immediate protection for the child. This order allows the local authority to take temporary custody of the child while further investigations are conducted. The court will then schedule additional hearings to review the evidence and make a final decision.

The family court and the local authority play crucial roles in the care order process. The family court is responsible for evaluating the evidence, listening to the arguments of all parties, and making a decision based on the best interests of the child. The local authority, on the other hand, is tasked with conducting investigations, gathering evidence, and presenting their findings to the court. They also have a responsibility to provide support and services to the child and their family throughout the process.

Importance of Legal Representation

Legal representation is essential in care orders and solicitors provide invaluable support to parents and guardians, helping them understand their rights and the legal process. They ensure that their clients’ voices are heard in court and that their interests are adequately represented. Having an experienced solicitor can significantly impact the outcome of the proceedings, making it crucial for parents and guardians to seek legal advice as early as possible.

Preparing and Presenting Evidence

One of the critical responsibilities of care order solicitors is to help clients gather and present evidence to support their cases. This evidence can include medical reports, testimonies from professionals working with the family, and any other relevant documents. Solicitors work to compile a case file that accurately represents the client’s situation and addresses the concerns raised by the local authority.

Legal Aid & Costs

Legal Aid Eligibility and How to Apply

Legal Aid offers financial assistance to those who qualify, ensuring that everyone has access to legal representation regardless of their financial situation. Eligibility for Legal Aid is based on your income, savings, and the merits of your case. At NLS, our experienced care solicitors will help you determine if you qualify for Legal Aid and guide you through the application process to ensure you receive the support you need.

What to Expect in Terms of Costs

If you do not qualify for Legal Aid, NLS offers fixed fee structures to provide you with a clear understanding of the costs involved. Our solicitors will discuss all fees upfront, providing complete transparency and helping you plan your finances accordingly. This approach allows you to focus on resolving your case without worrying about unexpected legal expenses, ensuring that you can make informed decisions about your legal needs.

What We Offer with Legal Aid

We are proud to be the UK’s largest provider of legal aid for domestic abuse cases in England. Our team is dedicated to offering support and representation to clients facing social services involvement, particularly in care proceedings. We work to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome for your family, leveraging our extensive experience and commitment to excellence.

Our Expertise

Our team of care solicitors are highly experienced in handling complex legal aid family law cases. We have a proven track record of successfully representing clients and achieving positive results. Our expertise covers a wide range of issues, from emergency protection orders to care proceedings, ensuring you receive the highest standard of legal support.

Our Services

At NLS, we offer a wide range of services related to care orders. Our expert solicitors provide legal advice and representation in various areas, including non-molestation orders, prohibited steps orders, and emergency protection orders. We also offer support for issues related to common law partnerships, parental responsibility, and child arrangement orders.

Our solicitors are experienced in handling complex cases involving domestic abuse, child protection, and family disputes. We are committed to providing compassionate, effective legal support to help families navigate these difficult situations and achieve the best possible outcomes.

Our Team

The care team at NLS is composed of highly experienced solicitors who specialise in family law and child protection issues. Our team includes members of the Law Society’s Children Panel, the Family Law Panel, and Resolution Accredited Specialists. These accreditations reflect our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of legal practice and our dedication to achieving the best outcomes for our clients.

Our solicitors are passionate about helping families and are here to provide the support and guidance you need. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the legal system, our team is well-equipped to handle even the most complex care order cases.

Why Choose Us?

Choosing NLS means partnering with a team of professionals with extensive experience in handling care orders. Our expertise, client-centred approach, and dedication to achieving the best outcomes set us apart from the competition. We invest the time to comprehend your unique circumstances and tailor our approach to suit your specific needs.

We have successfully guided numerous families through care orders and therefore our clients place their trust in us to deliver effective legal support.


Here are some testimonials from our clients:

  • “I am writing to express my heartfelt gratitude for the exceptional legal services you provided. Your professionalism, dedication, and expertise were evident throughout the entire process.”
  • “I cannot thank the Legal Aid team enough for their professionalism, support and understanding during a very difficult period of my life. Thakmina and Zainab were with me in every step of the way”
  • “I had an amazing team of women that made my experience seamless and perfect I would recommend 100% Kirsty and Hazel are the most helpful, caring, genuine and patient professionals I have had the pleasure of working with.”


What is the role of the children’s guardian in care orders? 

The children’s guardian is an independent professional appointed by the court to represent the child’s best interests. They work with the child, parents, and other parties to provide the court with an independent assessment of what is best for the child.

Can I have a solicitor for a Child Protection Conference (CPC)? 

Yes, you can have a solicitor represent you at a Child Protection Conference. Having legal representation can help ensure that your views are clearly communicated and that you understand the proceedings.

How long should care orders take? 

A care order can typically take around 26 weeks to complete, although this can vary depending on the complexity of the case and any additional evidence or hearings required.

What is a Section 47 investigation in child protection? 

A Section 47 investigation is conducted by social services when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm. The investigation aims to determine whether any action is required to protect the child.

Do police attend child protection conferences?

Yes, police officers may attend child protection conferences, particularly if there are concerns about criminal behaviour or if they have been involved in investigating allegations of abuse or neglect.

What is a Section 37 report in child protection? 

A Section 37 report is requested by the court to assess whether a care or supervision order is necessary. The report is prepared by social services and provides the court with detailed information about the child’s situation and the suitability of the proposed orders.

How long does a child protection investigation take? 

The length of a child protection investigation can vary, but social services aim to complete initial assessments within 45 working days. More complex investigations may take longer.

What do social services look for when they come to your house? 

During a home visit, social services assess the child’s living conditions, the parent’s ability to provide care, and any potential risks to the child’s safety and well-being.

Request Callback

We know that no two cases are ever the same and we are dedicated to guiding you through the legal process with tailored solutions which work for you. For free initial legal advice please fill out the form below.
Main Form