Discharge of a Care Order

A Care Order is an Order made by the Court that places a child in the care of the Local Authority until they are aged 18, or until the Order is varied or discharged. The Local Authority will have enhanced parental responsibility for the child, this means that they can make decisions about the child such as where they live and where they go to school even if the parents do not agree with these decisions. One decision could be for the child to be placed in long-term foster care.


In certain circumstances a Care Order can be discharged and the child can return to live with their family. An application to the Court must be made to discharge the Order; the people that can apply are the Local Authority, the child or anyone with parental responsibility for the child.


Once the application is made hearings will take place, and the Court will decide whether the Order should be discharged. The Court will consider the circumstances in which the Care Order was originally made and whether these have changed. The most important consideration will be the child’s welfare and whether it is safe for them to return home. The Court will also consider the views of professionals involved with the child such as the social worker, as well as the views of the child and their family.


Legal Aid is available for this application, but is means and merits tested – this means funding is granted on the basis of your financial circumstances as well as how likely your application is to be successful. If you would like to discuss whether you are eligible for Legal Aid you can call Emery Johnson Astills’ care team on 0116 255 4855.


If you are the parent/carer of a child subject to a Care Order or a child subject to a Care Order and would like advice on discharging this, you can contact Emery Johnson Astills’ care team on 0116 255 4855