Applications to discharge a supervision or care order
If your child remains subject to a care order, either in your care of the care of someone else, it may be possible for you to make an application to end the care or supervision order. This will require the court to look again at the child’s circumstances and decide whether the order is still needed or whether another type of order can best meet their needs.
Applications to discharge a supervision order
While supervision orders are for relatively short periods – most are between 6 and 12 months – they can be extended or discharged on the basis of an application to court. The application can be made by you, someone else with parental responsibility, your child or the local authority.
The main reason for making an application to extend a supervision order is that the local authority is not yet satisfied that the parents have made all the necessary changes and/or sustained the necessary changes to meet the needs of their child and safeguard their welfare. They believe that a further period of support, supervision and monitoring is needed.
The main reason for making an application to discharge a supervision order is that the local authority and the parent(s) are satisfied that the parents have made all the necessary changes and sustained the necessary changes to meet the needs of their child and safeguard their welfare.
Applications to discharge a care order
The majority of applications to discharge a care order are made by local authorities. Some are made by parents or others with parental responsibility (such as those with a Special Guardianship Order). A few applications are made by children, normally older children.
The main reasons for making an application to discharge a care order are as follows:
The circumstances that led to the court making a care order (the neglect and/or abuse of a child and/or the incapacity of the child’s parent(s) to meet their child’s needs and safeguard their welfare) have changed. The child’s parent(s) has turned their life around and overcome the problems that may have caused the concerns of the local authority, such as their mental health problems, alcohol or drug misuse, or domestic abuse. They have made and sustained the necessary changes that they were not able to demonstrate when the care order was made. These applications are made by either the local authority or the child’s parent(s) and sometimes by consent. The court may make a supervision order for a limited period so that the local authority can support and oversee the transition of the child back to the care of their parent(s).
A member of the child’s wider family such as a grandparent or aunt/uncle has been caring for the child as a kinship foster carer, approved and supported by the local authority. They have decided to apply for a Special Guardianship Order.
The child has decided they no longer want to be in the care of the local authority and has attained the age, level of understanding and mental capacity to be able to make this decision – fully aware of the consequences of their decision. They will have a plan of where they want to live, such as returning to the care of their parent(s) or to live with a member of their wider family. They may be of an age where they want to live independently.
The court will appoint a Children’s Guardian to provide expert advice on the application and the proposed plan and to comment on whether discharging the care order is suitable and in the child’s best interests.