Grandparents and other family members can have an important role to play in the life of a child and may find themselves involved in the care process. Equally, grandparents often complain that they feel excluded from the process and from involvement in the upbringing of their grandchild.
If the local authority is seriously worried about the safety or welfare of a child it may start ‘care proceedings’. Or, if it also believes that the child should be adopted, it might apply for a ‘placement order’ as well.
The first thing the local authority will do is ask the family court to make a temporary court order, called an ‘interim care order’. After this, the local authority social worker will carry out investigations into the child’s welfare and suggest a ‘care plan’.
The care plan outlines what they think should happen to the child, including whether they think your children should be taken into care or stay in the family.
In some cases it will be preferable for a child to stay with a grandparent or other family member rather than become a 'looked after child'.
If you wish to take care of the child, you will need to make that fact known to social services and your suitability will be assessed.
Whether you are a grandparent, a family member, or even a close friend who is considered suitable to become a 'kinship carer', you may then become party to the proceedings and need legal representation.
If you need advice regarding these issues, and with regard to your eligibility to receive Legal Aid, please call our specialist team on 01827 317070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.