When it comes to care proceedings, FDC Law experts say that the court is only able to issue a Supervision or Care Order if it is certain that the ‘threshold criteria’ have been met. The term ‘threshold criteria’ refers to when a child has already been seriously harmed whilst living with their parents or guardian, or the courts believe that he or she is at risk of being seriously harmed in the near future, and this harm is because the parent or guardian has not provided a reasonable amount of care than a parent should.
In these circumstances, FDC Law says that ‘harm’ can related to a child not only being ill-treated themselves, but also witnessing the ill-treatment of someone else; in other words, even if they are not being harmed themselves, they may be considered to be at risk if they frequently see their parents hurting one another, or other relatives.
If it is found by the court that this threshold criteria has been met, then FDC Law experts say that it may decide to issue an order, regardless of whether the parents of the child have been trying their best, as ultimately, they are not providing the right level of care for their child. According to FDC Law, the court will only make such an order if it is convinced that this will help; in most instances, the court will consider whether the harm, or the risk of harm is likely to occur in the future, and whether the parents are willing to deal with the council’s concerns regarding the welfare of their child.
If an order is to be made, the court will decide what type of order will need to be issued, based on the ‘welfare principle’, along with what is called a ‘welfare checklist’. The welfare principle, FDC Law says, is a document which states the courts first priority must be the child’s welfare, and the checklist includes things such as the feelings and wishes of the child, their gender and age, and the risk of harm. The order must be the absolute minimum required so as to provide the child with the necessary protection.