Barrister at 14 Gray's Inn Square Fellow of Christ's College Cambridge
In ‘Removal of children at interim hearings: is the test now set too high?' published in April  Fam Law 321 Darren Howe asked the pertinent question whether the test was now set too high for the removal of children at the interim stage of care proceedings. He instanced chronic neglect as a particular area of concern. I want to focus here on what might be viewed as the opposite problem; that interim care orders (hereafter ‘ICOs') are being made too readily by the lower courts and to highlight what it may be argued is a blurring of the distinction between voluntary co-operation and compulsory action. I will contend that some current practice is contrary to the philosophy of the Children Act 1989. I suggest a modest reform which might assist co-operation between parents and local authorities at the interim stage based on a welfare determination and which might avoid pushing at the boundaries of the interim threshold.
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