If these plans do not work, a Social Worker can request that the child is removed from the parents care. This can lead to court proceedings where the Social Worker will ask the court to make orders as to where the child will live.
If a child is removed from their parents care, Children’s Services have a duty to assess any family members that are put forward as an alternative carer for the child.
Questions regularly asked by Grandparents in this situation.
- Where is my grandchild going to live?
- Is my grandchild getting everything they need?
- Can I see my grandchild?
- I don’t want my grandchild to go into foster care, can I stop this?
- The Social Worker has mentioned adoption. Why can’t my grandchild come to live with me, surely that is best for them?
- Why can’t I see them every day like I usually do?
- Why can I only see them at specific times?
- Why do I have to be supervised?
There may be legal terms used by the Social Worker that you are not familiar with, for example, viability or kinship assessment, a Child Arrangements order or a Special Guardianship assessment.
A grandparent can ask the Social Worker and the court if they can care for the child. In this case, an assessment needs to be completed. Children’s Services will normally do an initial ‘viability assessment’ which generally takes around 2 weeks. If this assessment is positive, the Social worker will refer the grandparent for a full ‘kinship assessment’. This will take around 8 to 10 weeks. If this assessment is positive, subject to the views of the court, the assessments can lead to the children coming to live with the grandparents. If this is the case, Children's Services may recommend a Special Guardianship Order. You can seek legal advice as to whether the Children's Services are putting the right support in place.
If the assessment is negative and the Social Worker does not recommend the grandparents as carers for the child, the grandparents have the opportunity to challenge the assessment.
The court often imposes strict time-limits on challenging such assessments. Therefore, if grandparents find themselves in this position, it is important that they seek legal advice and challenge the assessment immediately. You may need to apply to the court for an order yourselves.
QualitySolicitors Parkinson Wright have experienced family lawyers who can assist you if you want to care for your grandchildren or even if you just simply want to keep contact with them. We also advise and represent grandparents in court proceedings.
If you would like any additional information or would like to book an appointment to discuss any Care matters please contact a member of our Family Department on 01905 721600 for a free initial consultation.