My Social Worker has told me that they are seeking a permanence order on my behalf, what does this mean?

The local authority can apply to the court for a permanence order. If the order is granted, the local authority will have the right to say where you should live. This will last until you are 16 years old. That means that your parents or those who currently have parental rights and responsibilities for you will no longer have the right to decide where you are to live. The local authority will also have the responsibility to provide you with guidance, which will last until you are 18 years old. The local authority will normally apply for a permanence order when they are of the view that you cannot return home to live with your parents.  The court may also add in other measures in regards to parental rights and responsibilities, for example, they might remove all of your parent’s rights and responsibilities. However, if a parental right or responsibility is removed from you parents, it must be given to someone else, such as the local authority or long term foster carers. The permanence order may also state that you are allowed to be adopted. If this is granted, it means that your parents cannot challenge your adoption in the future.

If a permanence order is granted, can I still have contact with my parents?

In some cases, the court will put in a measure that you are to have some contact with your parents.  Often this is very limited contact, such as a couple of times a year. Or it may be indirect contact, such as by letters. When considering what measures to put in place the court will consider what measures are in your best interests.

What if I don’t want the Local Authority to seek a permanence order?

If you are 12 years old or over, the local authority must ask for your consent to a permanence order. If you do not consent, the local authority cannot apply for a permanence order. If you are under 12, then depending on your age and maturity, the local authority should ask what your views are and take your views into consideration when making an application for a permanence order.

I have been living with foster carers or in a children’s unit and I would like my parent’s rights and responsibilities removed. Is there anything I can do?

In most cases, the only way both your parents’ rights and responsibilities can be removed is through a permanence order. Only the local authority can seek a permanence order and therefore it is up to them whether to make an application to the courts.   It is therefore important that you discuss this option with your social worker or the people who are looking after you, if it is something that you want. 

NOTE: This factsheet is intended as a guide to the law as at December 2017 and not as an authoritative statement and interpretation of the law.