If the local authority is concerned about the wellbeing and welfare of a child, there are various Court Orders that can be applied for which are aimed at protecting the child. One Order the Court can make is a Supervision Order. Sometimes, Supervision Orders are made as interim Orders during care proceedings whilst further assessments are completed.
Under a Supervision Order, a child remains with his or her parents or carers, and social workers have a duty to advise, befriend and assist the child. The local authority will produce a care plan, and the social worker will work with the family to try and make improvements. There will be conditions that a child’s caregiver has to follow, for example, not to abuse drugs or to ensure that the home conditions are acceptable and safe for a child. These conditions will vary depending on the concerns of each family. Usually, a working agreement will be signed by the parties.
A Supervision Order does not mean that your parental responsibility rights are taken away or that your child is removed from your care, but it is very important that you comply with expectations and work with the social worker under the Order. If the expectations are not followed, the local authority may seek to return the matter back to Court to ask a Judge to make a Care Order in place of the Supervision Order.
Has an application for a Supervision Order been submitted over concerns for your child’s wellbeing? If so, we’re here to help you understand exactly what this means and the next steps you can take. Should you need to directly speak to a solicitor, our solicitors who specialise in care proceedings will be happy to advise.
Are you given notice before an application for a Supervision Order is made to the Court?
Yes, you are given notice of the application for a Supervision Order. Parents or any person with parental responsibility have the legal right to attend the Court hearings about whether or not a Supervision Order should be made. The local authority will send you a copy of the Court papers. It is very important to get a solicitor instructed as soon as possible so that you are represented in the proceedings. Non means and non-merits tested funding is available through the Legal Aid Agency to cover your legal representation.
How is a Supervision Order made?
An application for a Supervision Order is submitted to the Court by an authorised person (NSPCC) or by the local authority if they are concerned about a child’s welfare, particularly if the child is suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm because of:
- The care or the lack of care provided by the parents; and or
- The child is beyond parental control
The authorised person or local authority must be able to prove that the child is suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm. For the Court to make a Supervision Order, they must be satisfied that the child is suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm. However, the Court might decide that another type of Order is more appropriate or consider that no Order should be made.
How long will a Supervision Order last?
When a Supervision Order is granted by the Court, it can be made for up to a year. Sometimes, Supervision Orders are made for shorter periods of time, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Sometimes, applications are made to extend an Order for a year for a maximum of three years, if considered appropriate.
The order automatically ends when the child turns 18 years of age.
Can you appeal a Supervision Order?
It is very unusual to appeal a Supervision Order because of how close the local authority work alongside the parents, but this is not completely impossible. Should you decide to appeal a Supervision Order, you will need to ensure that you seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor.
What happens if you break the conditions of a Supervision Order?
When a Supervision Order is made, there are conditions that you must legally abide by. If you break these conditions, it could mean that the local authority asks for the Supervision Order to be replaced with a Care Order, and your child could be removed from your care.
Can you discharge a Supervision Order?
There will be regular reviews under the Supervision Order. If the reviews are positive and the concerns of the local authority have been alleviated, it is possible for the Supervision Order to be discharged by the Court before it is due to expire.
Get in touch with our care proceedings solicitors in Bournemouth
For expert help with an application for a Supervision Order or any aspect of Care proceedings, please contact Zara Hanson, Solicitor at our Bournemouth office on 01202 292 424 or fill in our online enquiry form for a quick response.