In a recent High Court case Mr Justice Baker out guidance relating to children who remain at home while under a local authority care order.
Re DE concerned a couple seeking to appeal a court’s refusal to grant them an injunction which would have prevented the removal of their child.
The new guidance was approved by Family Division President Sir James Munby. It states that:
*Local authorities should give a minimum of 14 days’ notice of any intent to remove a child who is living at home with their parents under a care order.
*Removal of the child from their home permanently should be undertaken “only as a last resort where nothing else will do.” Parents should be involved in the decision-making process.
*In such circumstances, parents should consider seeking an injunction under section 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
*Local authorities must consider whether immediate removal is really in the child’s best interests, and keep a written record of their discussion and the reasons for their decision.
*Family centres must consider whether or not care order applications in such circumstances are accompanied by Human Rights Act applications, and if they are, they should allocate the case to a circuit judge.
*The courts should normally grant applications for an injunction, “unless the child’s welfare requires his immediate removal from the family home.”
In RE, Mr Justice Baker described the earlier judge’s refusal as “plainly wrong”, and granted the couple permission to appeal.