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Grandparents Rights in Care Proceedings

If the Local Authority wish to remove a child from their parents without their consent, they must issue Care Proceedings and obtain a Care Order for the child. Grandparents and Grandparents childcare is not automatically considered. The Mother of the child is automatically involved and any person including the Father who has Parental Responsibilityfor the Child is also automatically involved. A Father without Parental Responsibility may become involved on an application to the Court for party status.

Unless you have Parental Responsibility for your grandchild by way of a Child Arrangement or Special Guardianship Order, then as a grandparent you are not automatically involved within the care proceedings.

Grandparent’s childcare and Grandparents rights to see grandchildren can be affected.

GLC can give you the necessary legal advice to determine whether you can be considered as carer for your grandchild. We can represent your interests in care proceedings if you become involved in the proceedings and we can advise you on becoming a kinship carer.

Frequently Asked Questions

The right to decide how a child is raised and cared for rests with the people who have parental responsibility for the child. This can be the child’s mother and the father provided he has parental responsibility, adoptive parents, and other people caring for the child if they obtain a court order. For example, the Local Authority will share parental responsibility if they obtain a Care Order from the court.

At GLC we can give you legal advice to determine whether you can have your say and be involved in discussions about your grandchild where appropriate in the proceedings.

Social Services are responsible for making sure that children are safe and are well cared for by their parents or the person looking after them.

Sometimes social services may receive information that makes them worried about a child’s welfare. When this happens they are under a duty to take action to protect your grandchild.

If social services believe that your grandchild is suffering serious harm or is likely to suffer serious harm, then they can apply to the court for a care order.

Before this happens, social services may call a ‘child protection case conference’ to see if your grandchild could be properly protected without a care order being made. All professionals involved in your grandchild’s life will attend the meeting. It may be that as a grandparent you could attend this meeting if it is agreed with everybody else. For this to happen usually you would have to show that you have been involved with your grandchild’s care or that you are there to support the parents. At GLC we can give you legal advice to help you to have your say.

Social services may take a number of steps to protect your grandchild in an emergency.

This can include:

  • Asking the person they believe is a danger to your grandchild to leave the home or keep away
  • Having your grandchild looked after by the local authority
  • Ask the police to take your grandchild into police protection for up to 72 hours
  • Apply to the court for an emergency protection order, which will last initially for up to eight days. Social services can ask the court to extend this for up to seven more days.
  • Place the child in the care of an alternative family member with the consent of the parents.

At GLC we can give you advice and support to help you to support your grandchild in these circumstances.

You may be told that care proceedings are going to start by social services as they may want to place your grandchild with you as the alternative could be foster care. The Local Authority have a duty to try and place the child in a safe family environment. If this is not possible then they will resort to foster care.

If you would like to care for your grandchild in these circumstances as a kinship carer we can give you the necessary legal advice to empower you to be considered as carer.

The new government guidance, which has now been incorporated into the Children and Families Act 2014, has changed how care proceedings are to be dealt with by the Court. The emphasis is now on the Local Authority to complete as much work as possible before proceedings are issued.

If proceedings are issued then they should take no longer than 26 weeks to conclude. If the case is complex then the proceedings can be extended for up to eight week periods at a time. This can only be granted if the Court feel it is necessary. The case will be considered complex if there are a number of issues relating to medical evidence, if there is an international element, parents have a disability which requires specialist assessment or treatment or if something unexpected happens part way through the proceedings.

The court will not make any final decisions at the first hearing. At the hearing the court must:

  • Decide whether to make an interim order (an order that will say where the child shall live and who will look after them until the final hearing
  • Decide whether the case should be transferred to another court
  • Decide how the case should be prepared for the final hearing

If proceedings are issued by the Local Authority then they can seek the following orders:-

  • Interim Care Order
  • Interim Supervision Order

The Court could also make a child arrangement order if it feels it is appropriate.

At GLC we can provide you with legal support and advice through this process.

Care Orders

An interim care order is order which means social services share parental responsibility for your child with you. This includes the power to decide where the child will live, even if you don’t agree with it. Social Services must have an interim care plan that sets out where and whom the child shall live with and arrangements for contact with members of the child’s family. If you do not agree with the care plan and you feel that someone in your family could look after the child, then you must tell social services, your solicitor and the court so that they can consider what is best for your child.

This order lasts until a final order is made at the end of the proceedings.

During proceedings this can be made as an Interim Order and then a Final Order when the case concludes.

This does not give the Local Authority parental responsibility for your child but it does mean that social services can monitor how your child is being cared for. It allows the Local Authority to befriend, advise and assist the child.

Supervision Orders can vary in lenght but cannot be made for a period longer than 3 years.

This is an order which replaces residence/contact and custody/access orders. It is an order which will state where the child should live and what contact the child is to have with the non-resident party.

Care Order

This order places your grandchild or the child in the care of a particular local authority and gives parental responsibility to that authority. This does not mean that you lose parental responsibility but it does mean that the local authority can override your wishes if it believes this would be best for your grandchild or the child.

The local authority should support you so that, unless the risks to your grandchild or the child are too high he or she can be returned to your care, or to the care of other members of your family if that is not possible. Case reviews must be held every 6 months to consider their plans and you should attend. If you cannot attend the local authority should give you the information on the decisions made.

The law on adoption changed at the end of 2005. Since then, local authorities can place your grandchild or the child for adoption only if they have a care order, and: the parents give formal consent to the placement; or the court makes a placement order

A full care order lasts until the child is 18 years old unless the court,

  1. Makes a residence or special guardianship order
  2. Ends (discharges) the care order when it decides it should not continue
  3. Makes a supervision order instead
  4. Makes an adoption order

You can ask the court to discharge the care order. If you have already asked in the last six months but want to ask again, then you must get the court’s permission.

You will have to show the court that it is in your grandchild or the child’s best interests for the care order to be discharged. If the court agree and discharge the care order then you and any other person with parental responsibility will take over caring for your grandchild or the child.

Special Guardianship Order

This is an order that the court can make to place a child for longer periods of time with someone who is not their parent. It is meant to be more permanent than a residence order because a parent cannot apply to revoke or cancel the order without the court’s permission. However, a special guardianship order does not break the legal relationship between a parent and child.

The special guardian will gain parental responsibility for him or her and although you will still have parental responsibility as well, the special guardian has the right to override your wishes if you cannot agree.

Placement Order

This is where the Local Authority feel that nobody in the family can care for the child, therefore the best plan for that child is adoption. The placement order allows the Local Authority to look for an adoptive family.

At GLC we can provide you with legal support and advice about the orders which can be made and whether there is opportunity for you to be your grandchild’s carer (a kinship carer) if appropriate.

A full care order lasts until the child is 18 years old unless the court,

  1. Makes a residence or special guardianship order
  2. Ends (discharges) the care order when it decides it should not continue
  3. Makes a supervision order instead
  4. Makes an adoption order

At GLC we can give you legal advice about this if your grandchild is subject to a care order.


We believe in making access to the right advice as simple as possible. Often, we can make a real difference in a single or planned series of phone advice sessions. Call today to speak to our enquiry team for a free initial consultation.

Our Team

Rosie Turner Grandparents Legal Centre

Rosie Turner

Rosie primarily assists clients on a variety of issues in relation to kinship care, particularly claiming allowances and back dated payments for kinship carers from Local Authority’s. Rosie also assists clients with Special Guardianship Order applications and advice in relation to the support that is available under Special Guardianship Orders....
Lucy Pickles Grandparents Legal Centre

Lucy Pickles

Lucy initially joined Ridley & Hall in August 2018 as a Paralegal. Lucy has since completed her training contract and was admitted to the roll of solicitors in October 2021....

Sarah Brown

Associate Solicitor
Sarah joined Ridley & Hall in 2010 following the completion of her Law Degree. Whilst working at Ridley & Hall she studied the Legal Practice Course part time over two years, completing it in 2012....

Laura Milburn

Laura has many years of legal experience and was called to the Bar in 2010.  After qualifying as a Barrister, Laura cross-qualified to become a Solicitor in 2012.   Laura is a passionate advocate and has used her advocacy and negotiation skills on behalf of many clients over the years. ...
Headshot Helen Moody

Helen Moody

Helen completed her degree in law in 2009 before continuing her studies part time on the Legal Practice Course whilst working in a solicitors firm in Wakefield to gain experience. Helen joined Ridley & Hall in January 2012 after completion of the Legal Practice Course,  initially as a Legal Assistant working alongside Nigel Priestley to build up experience in the Public Law department. Helen completed her training contract at Ridley & Hall and qualified as a solicitor in October 2016....
Vicky Meds

Vicky Medd

Vicky Medd is a family solicitor with over 20 years experience.  She is an accredited specialist with Resolution and has a lot of experience of financial relief, and child disputes.  Vicky was also recently involved in one of the first family arbitration cases in the country and has a lot of experience in dealing with cases as expeditiously as possible, whilst achieving the best outcomes for clients....
Clare Linden Headshot

Clare Linden

Clare joined Ridley & Hall Solicitors as a Partner in 2018. Clare graduated from Durham University and completed her legal training at the College of Law in York in 2006. Clare qualified as a solicitor in 2008 when she re-located to Leeds to join the niche family law firm McAras and was made a partner in 2013 following the firm’s merger with Simpson Millar solicitors in Leeds....

James Cook

Head of Child Care & Public Law Team
James Cook trained and qualified at a South Yorkshire firm where he specialised in family and immigration law. ...

Nigel Priestley

Senior Partner, MBE
Nigel Priestley is a Senior Partner of Ridley & Hall Solicitors and a community care and adoption specialist solicitor. He is a member of the Children’s Panel and regularly represents children and parents in care proceedings. ...

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