Specific Issues, Prohibited Steps, Supervision, Residency And Family Assistance Orders.
A Supervision Order does not mean that the Local Authority shares parental responsibility with you but the appointed supervisor who is usually a social worker or sometimes a probation officer to simply provide advice, befriend or to just simply assist your child. This may require the child to live in a specific place or to do certain things in a way or they may have to report to a certain place. In which case the supervisor can become directly involved in the life of your child.
Sometimes there are special conditions relating to the medical treatment of the child. A Supervision Order can be varied or discharged just the same as a care order.
An important difference between a Supervision Order and a Care Order is that a Supervision Order does not give Parental Responsibility to the Local Authority.
A supervision order can last for one year, and may be extended yearly to a total of 3 years. It will last until the child reaches the age of 18, unless discharged at an earlier date.
What is a Residence Order ? ...
Residence order is when you go to court and the judge decides where and with whom your children should live.
1 example is when 2 parent's seperate and no longer live together and when neither parent can agree on where there children should live this is where a residency order comes into play. The parents will go infront of the judge and the Judge will rule the decision for them.
Family Assistance order.
What is a family assistance order...
A court can make a Family Assistance Order also known as an FAO order, means that the children’s services can provide extra support to families who are experiencing difficulties after separation or divorce. The court's will appoint either a CAFCASS worker or a social worker to work, to befriend and to help and support your family. They will advice and assist anyone who is named on the FAO. More commonly than not this is usually to provide assistance with contact, monitoring contact and to provide access to a contact centre when it is orders that the child have supervised contact.
Who can be named in an FAO ?
The FAO order can include the parent's or guardian's of the child, the child themselves and anyone that the child lives with or who are named in the contact order, formally known as a child arrangement order or who has been granted contact with the child.
Can I apply for a family assistance order?
This type of order is only made if a judge decided that an FAO is appropriate, It is not there as an application for parents requests but only for a judge to grant/rule an FAO.
However it Is possible that during the court proceedings that parent's or other named parties in the court order can put in An application for another similar form of court application or order such as a child arrangement order for contact with the child or maybe an order to enforce a child arrangement order/contact order if contact has been breached. You could try your luck and ask the judge to consider making a family assistance order after all you never know your luck you might get lucky.
When us a family assistance order granted ?
An FAO is normally made when all named parties are in mutual agreement to the order being made.
How long does a family assistance order usually last ?
An FAO can last for up to 12 months, unless the FAO order granted a shorter time period.
What can CAFCASS do under a family assistance order?
They can refer your families case back to the court's, to request a variation to your child arrangements order, prohibited steps order or specific issues order. Or if there is a pattern of repetitive historical behaviour that is an issues or concern that could cause a negative emotional impact or can possibly harm or endanger, or cause abuse or neglect to the child named on the FAO order, regarding contact with the child who is subject to a child arrangement order or a residency order that is still in force. The decision to grant a variation to the family assistance order is solely made by the judge. Neither the CAFCASS worker or the social worker can make any kind of variation or suspension what-so-ever to the family assistance order.
More often than not they do need to be reminded of this as they think they have the authority to override there legal statutory duties and powers by playing god with children's lives and there future's.
Prohibited steps and specific issues orders explained.
Examples of Specific Issue's and Prohibited Steps Orders...
The issues that need to be dealt with by a specific issue Order or prohibited steps Order are very open ended.
• Changing a child's surname.
• Prohibiting an adult from telling a child the truth or talking to a child about a specific subject i.e true paternity.
• Issues related to moving home.
• Decisions about their education and where they should go to school.
• Decisions related to permission for your child's medical treatment or operation.
• Issues regarding religion, disputes often arise over choice of religion. However, children of mixed heritage are generally allowed to decide for themselves which, if any, religion they wish to follow.
• Taking your child to live or travel abroad on a permanent or temporary holiday basis.
• Preventing someone from having contact with your child, or a parent needing the judge's permission to allow to let there children associate with pacific people.
Specific issues order.
What is a Specific issues order ? ...
A Specific Issue Order is an order set out and made by the family courts to answer specific questions that may have arisen in any aspect connected parental responsibility and to determine specific instructions for an adult to abide by in way of what they can and cannot do for particular specific issues concerning the children involved because of any previous concerns raised over the actions of the person named on the order.
Prohibited steps orders.
What is a Prohibited Steps Order ? ...
Prohibited steps orders are the one's that are put in to place because an issue has arisen such as one parent finding a new partner and wanting to move to a different home or area used to resolve disputes. This means that a certain person or person's named on the order are prevented from making decisions about the child's upbringing like taking a child abroad on an extended holiday and must ask the court's permission first before doing specified things that are listed within the Prohibited Steps Order that wouldn't normally Need the court's permission.
Section 7 reports explained.
what is a section 7 report ....
Under the Childrens Act 1989, section 7, when an application is made to the Courts by one or both parents under the Children's Act 1989, section 8, for any of the following...
• A Child's Arrangements Order.
• Prohibited Steps Order.
• Specific Issues Order.
• Family Assistance Order.
A section 7 is also known as a welfare report. It is requested by the Judge in private law proceedings when the courts need more information on a child's welfare to decide what course of action is best for your your child.
A section 7 report is requested when.....
• There is a case of domestic violence or abuse, the Courts will request a "safety and risk assessment" This should only be carried out by a qualified and accredited professional.
• When the social worker hasn't spoken to the local authorities legal team or no Children's Guardian has been appointed to the child because the child hasn't been made a party to the proceedings. However if the case involves Domestic Violence or abuse then the child is entitled to there own legal representation, depending on the seriousness of the case.
A Section 7 report is carried out by the families social worker if children's services are already or have been previous involved with the family in the past. If not the Court will refer the family to CAFCASS where they will be allocated a CAFCASS worker .
Families disagree usually when a couple separate and they can't agree between themselves or it might be if parents and grandparents can't agree on what's best for the child. Feelings can often run very high. This usually happens because parties can't solve the problems between themselves, even with or without the help of a mediation service or a solicitor.
Social workers are asked by a parent/relative who is considering making an application for a Section 8 Order if they will support the application. A decision to support the application can only be made if a full assessment of all the parties involved have been completed aswell as the child's wishes and feelings being noted and taken onboard.
If the Courts have ordered a Section 7 report to be carried out, the professional carrying out the section 7 report must look at the Court Order, which will have been sent to them by the Court. This will tell them what particular area the Court is asking for the report to concentrate on. The professional can comment on other areas of concern if they feel they are relevant to the case.
Importantly, they must check whether the request for the Section 7 Report requires a response to Domestic Violence or Abuse. Or comes following a Finding of Fact Hearing of Domestic Violence or Abuse. They must ensure the Judge's findings and directions are fully read.
The reason the Courts ask for a Section 7 report to be carried out is to provide the Court with more information or advice as to what (if any) Orders should be made for the best interests of the child's welfare. It is not their role to resolve disputes between parties, but they may identify and get the opportunity to help the parties to reach an agreement.
The Court's request for a section 7 report will be contained within the Court Order. This will be sent to the local authorities Legal Team who will forward this onto your Multi Agency Service Hub (MASH). MASH will then alert your allocated social worker if you have one already or they will do a new referral to children's services. If the children are already under the local authorities the report should be completed by the allocated social worker.
In Private Law proceedings the professional carrying out the section 7 report must start their report with the presumption that you are competent parrnts and the problem is that you cannot agree about certain matters, the issues about where the child lives and contact issues regarding the child. They are not there looking for grounds to test significant harm but they may be required to evaluate harm and risks to the children or their parent / carer, where there are issues of Domestic Abuse. Neither are they there looking for the Local Authority to share parental responsibility. However, the fact that the Local Authority is involved with the child would indicate that there are concerns about the child so these should be clearly stated in their report.
The Court usually sets a timescale of 12-16 weeks for the work to be completed. The deadline for submission of the report to the Court will be specified in the Court Order. It is important that the report is filed directly to the court and they stick to the timescale set out by the Judge. Where there are reasons for delay, such as repeated failed appointments by the parties involved, the court must be notified, in writing. The letter should indicate a revised timescale for completion.
They must keep all parties aware and updated of their emerging conclusions so that the report does not contain surprises. Once they have completed there report they must clearly explain and provide you with the information on how you can request a full copy of there report either through the Court or through your solicitor. There report should be filed 14 days before the Hearing.
The process is ...
Applications are made by firstly submitting a request asking for the court's permission for a hearing by using the Court form C2. Then by submitting three copies of the Court forms C100 if you wish for personal information to be left out of the Court paper's for example with cases where domestic violence has previously taken place then you need to attach the form C8 with each of the C100 application forms that you are submitting in to the Court. If there has been or likely to be any kind of danger or if you have been abused or harmed by the other parties in any kind of way then you can apply for an urgent hearing without informing other parties of your hearing by using the Court Forms C110A instead of the C100.
This needs the consent of both parents, which can often be impossible, particularly if there have been allegations of domestic violence.
This first meeting will be in private and will endeavour to facilitate an agreement between the parents as to how to determine the issue.
Next Step - Directions for Hearing .....
If the first initial meeting does not resolve the issue.
Then the case will be heard before a district judge or magistrate in order to start family proceedings and to obtain directions for a trial/hearing with the parents and a representing Cafcass officer (children and family court advisory and support services) who must be a qualified social worker and I strongly advise that both parents attend all Court hearings with their own family law solicitor and are properly legally represented you will need to submit a witness statements, and the appointed Cafcass officer will then interview both parents and where possible the Cafcass officer will also see the child with each of the parents together and separately. Following these interviews the cafcass representing officer will then prepare the report which should resolve the matters.
Final Hearing ....
If no agreement can be made there will be a final hearing and both parents will be required to give evidence in the court proceedings at the Family Courts you will be asked questions under oath by the opposing side.
In most instances the representing Cafcass officer’s report will often settle matters before the final hearing happens and it is quite rare for a judge to find against the recommendations made in the report. If this does happen, the judge must provide reasons for his judgement. If the judge has made an error of law in coming to this decision, it can be challenged by applying to the high court of justice for a judicial review. However, this is a complex legal procedure, and we would recommend you seek legal advice before embarking on such a claim.
Can the Court Make an Order of it Own Volition? ...
In situations where a magistrate or judge is satisfied and believes there are grounds that there is a significant risk to the child then it has been known for judge's to grant an order like when the responsible parents is acting in an inappropriate way may be one parent may go ahead and do something in particular or may act irresponsibly while a child is in their care such as leaving the child in the care with someone unsuitable or taking a child to a place that is deemed unsuitable for children or they choose to take a course of action without seeking the other parents consent the judge may decide to make a Specific Issue or prohibited Steps Order of their own volition.
The court’s main concern is always the welfare of the child in question and their best interests, so this will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
if there is a need or a real concern like abduction out of the uk and theres enough evidence to support this and the judge feels that a prohibted steps order is needed to protect and safeguard the children named on the order then he will make a judgement that he sees fit to protect the children in the order and the person named on the order will have to comply if for some reson they breach the order it is punishable by stopping contact with the child altogether or being made to having supervised contact at a contact centre only or in extreme cases to imposing a custodial sentence for imprisonable offense depends on how seriously the order has been breached.