Johnson Astills Solicitors Banner Image


News and Events

Can I discharge a Care Order?

View profile for Emily Jones
  • Posted
  • Author

What is a Care Order?

A Care Order is an Order made by the Court when the Court determines that a child is suffering or is at risk of suffering Significant Harm. When a Care Order is granted, the child is effectively placed in the care of the Local Authority. The Local Authority will share Parental Responsibility for the child with the parents, until the child reaches the age of 18, or until the Care Order is varied or discharged. The Local Authority will have overriding Parental Responsibility, which means that they can decide where a child should live. Often, children are placed into long-term foster care, but they could be living with a family member or at home with their parents.

It is possible to apply to discharge a Care Order. Anybody with Parental Responsibility for the child can apply to discharge a Care Order, including parents and the Local Authority.

How can I discharge a Care Order?

The Court will consider the circumstances in which the Care Order was made, including the risk of harm that was posed to the children at the time and the current circumstances. There must be evidence of significant changes to the parents’ circumstances to Discharge a Care Order. The child’s welfare is paramount, and it must be safe for the child to return home, if the child is living away from home. The Court will consider the views of the children, if they are old enough to explain their wishes and feelings, the parents, and the professionals involved in a child’s case. A Children’s Guardian will be appointed to represent the rights and interests of the child and to provide the Court with independent advice about the child’s best interests.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal Aid is available to discharge a Care Order, however this is means and merit tested.  Parents are not automatically entitled to Legal Aid to apply to discharge a Care Order.

Johnson Astills must first establish if you are entitled to Legal Help (Level 1.) If you are eligible for this level of funding, steps will be taken to establish whether your case has merits. A member of the Care Team will need to consider the previous case papers and discuss the changes that you have made to your circumstances since your child was removed from your care and advise you accordingly.

 If it appears that your application is likely to be successful, Johnson Astills will submit a Legal Aid Application on your behalf. The Legal Aid Agency will consider your financial situation and a brief overview of your case and the reasons for your application, before deciding if  funding should be granted.

If you are eligible for Legal Aid, Johnson Astills will be able to assist you in making an Application to Discharge a Care Order and represent you at the subsequent hearings. 

Even if you do not think that you would qualify for Legal Aid, other methods of funding are available, and Johnson Astills will offer support to both Legally Aided and privately funded clients.

If you believe that you have made sufficient changes to your circumstances and wish to apply to discharge a Care Order and have your children returned to your care, please contact Johnson Astills. A member of the Care Team will be happy to progress this application with you.

Please get in touch with Johnson Astills today and we would be more than happy to discuss your requirements further.

Please call us at our office in Leicester on 0116 255 4855 or our office in Loughborough on 01509 610 312 and ask to speak to a member of the Care Team.

Alternatively, you may prefer to email us at or fill in our enquiry form.