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A care order is an order which places a child under the protection of social services. It gives the local authority parental responsibility and the power to remove a child into foster care. A care order will remain in force until the child reaches the age of 18 or earlier order of the court.
The social services department of your local authority must apply to the court for a care order. If successful, the local authority will share parental responsibility for the child with the parents.They will also play a major role in decisions about the child’s welfare and upbringing, such as where they live and where they go to school.
A court can only grant a care order if they believe that:
- The child is suffering harm, or is at risk of suffering harm in the future; and
- The harm is being caused by the child’s parents, or
- The parents are unable to protect the child from harm as they are unable to control the child.
It is possible for parents or other family members to challenge the making of a care order.