Care proceedings and protection orders

Children’s Services are responsible for supporting children with additional needs, and for protecting children who may be at risk of harm. See our Report a child protection concern page if you need to report a child you believe may be at risk.

Looked after children

When a child’s needs are so complex that they cannot be met at home, or when the risk of harm is considered by a family court to be significant, they will become looked after. This means that they will live away from home, either in foster care or residential care provided by children’s services, or with their family and friends in what we call kinship care.

There are a number of different circumstances which might result in a child or young person becoming looked after, and each of these circumstances relates to specific legal responsibilities and processes. If you or your family are already involved with children’s services, then your social worker or lead professional should explain these processes to you, and work with you to understand what will happen next for your family.

Supporting children to stay within their family and friends networks

We are committed to ensuring that families whose children might otherwise be removed from their homes are supported to meet and develop an alternative plan before such action is taken. There is more information available about our approach to working with families within our Keeping children safe and Report a child protection concern pages.

Further information

If you would like to find out more about processes, care proceedings and the legal responsibilities of Children’s Services, the Family Rights Group provides a range of information tailored to your specific situation on their help and advice pages. This information covers all children’s services directorates in England and Wales. The Family Rights Group has also produced an introductory guide to local authority children’s services.​​​​



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