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What does an Interim Care Order mean?

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When the Local Authority considers that a child is at risk of significant harm, they can apply for a Care Order or an Interim Care Order. This would only be granted if the Court finds reasonable grounds to believe that a child has  suffered or is at risk of suffering significant harm, and that the harm or likelihood of harm is attributable to - a) the care being given to the child, or likely to be given to the child if the order were not made, not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give him: or b) the child being beyond parental control. This is the beginning of Court proceedings, and it is crucial to obtain legal advice at the earliest stage you can.

What is an Interim Care Order?

If an Interim Care Order is granted in a Court hearing, it means the Local Authority will obtain parental responsibility for the child and will be able to determine the arrangements for the child. This may include where the child should live (whether with parents, alternative carers, or in foster care) and what contact the child should have with their parents and other family members. The details of this are dependent on circumstances for each case.

An Interim Care Order is used to protect a child and enable assessments to take place. The aim is to secure the child’s safety in the interim whilst the Court establishes a full picture and considers a resolution.

At the end of proceedings, if a Care Order is made, then the Care Order can be applicable until the child is 18 years old, there are circumstances when a Care Order can come to an end sooner. Court proceedings can take approximately 26 weeks or longer.

How does this affect my parental responsibility?

A mother acquires parental responsibility at the birth of their child. The father would automatically have parental responsibility if they were married to the mother at the time that the child was born or are named on the child’s birth certificate. If the Local Authority acquires parental responsibility through an Interim Care Order, then both the Local Authority and parents shared parental responsibility. The Local Authority must discuss decisions in relation to the child with the parents. In the event of a disagreement, the Local Authority has the final say, acting as is necessary to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.

How long does an Interim Care Order last?

An Interim Care Order is a temporary measure, the Children Act 1989 provides that it initially lasts for a period of 8 weeks. After the 8-week period, the Order is kept under review and, if necessary, the Court can extend it for further periods of 28 days. There is no limit on how many extensions can be made. In order to avoid unnecessary extensions to the Order and to reduce administration it is usual practice for an Interim Care Order to be made until the conclusion of proceedings or further order of the Court. This allows the potential for the necessity of the Interim Care Order to be reviewed before the conclusion of proceedings.

How can we Help?

If the Local Authority have discussed issuing Care Proceedings or seeking an Interim Care Order in respect of your child, please contact  Johnson Astills  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.