FAQs: Placing children in care


Can children be placed in care?

Under the Children Act 1989, children who are in need of care can be placed into care in special accommodation. The law provides for a range of options for local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need.

What are care orders?

Care orders can be made to allow children to be taken into care on a long-term basis. They are usually made for children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm if they are not taken into care.

Who is responsible for children under care orders?

When a child is under a care order made by a court, the local authority becomes responsible for that child. The court makes an order conferring ‘parental responsibility’ on the local authority. This enables the local authority to make important decisions about the child, such as where they will live.

Can the child be kept with the family?

Wherever possible, the local authority and the courts try to keep a child with their family. A supervision order may be made. A supervision order allows the child to keep living with their family, but under the supervision of a supervisor. However, when it is not possible to ensure the welfare of the child with their family, other options can be considered.

What are the other alternatives?

In addition to care orders and supervision orders, the court may consider making secure accommodation orders and emergency protection orders. Secure accommodation orders can be made for the short-to-medium term. Emergency protection orders can be granted for up to 8 days where there is an immediate danger to the child. For advice on the options, speak to a family law solicitor.

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