What Is A Recovery Order In Care Proceedings?

Recovery Orders are usually made in care proceedings when a child has run away from their foster/residential placement, stays away, or goes missing. In some circumstances, a Recovery Order may be made because the child has been taken by their parent unlawfully when the child is not supposed to be with the parent and the parent has not informed the Local Authority that they have the child in their care.

Who Can Recovery Orders Be Made For?

Recovery Orders can only be made regarding children who are in care, are subject to an emergency protection order, or in police protection following an emergency (Section 50 (2) Children Act 1989).

If the child meets this criterion then the Court may make a Recovery Order if any of the following apply:

  1. The child has been unlawfully taken away or is being kept unlawfully away from the person who usually cares for the child
  2. The child has run away or is staying away from the person who usually cares for the child
  3. Or the child is missing

(Section 50 (1) Children Act 1989) 

Before deciding to apply for a Recovery Order, other avenues need to be explored and steps must be taken by the social work team to locate the child and encourage them to return to the person who usually looks after them.

What Is A Recovery Order In Care Proceedings?

When the Court grants a Recovery Order the following directions can be made:

  1. A direction to produce the child on request to an authorised person
  2. Authorise the removal of a child by any authorised person
  3. Requires anybody who has information about the child’s whereabouts to share this information if asked to do so by the Police or Court.
  4. Allows a Police Constable to enter into the premises named within the order and search for the child. Reasonable force can be used by the Police Constable if considered necessary. Meaning that the Police can use force to ensure that the child is removed from any danger.

(Section 50 (3) Children Act 1989) 

Once made, the Recovery Order must be served on all those who are affected by it. If the order is made without notice, the applicant must serve a copy on the parties within 48 hours unless the Court directs otherwise.

Practical Example

A Child is subject to an interim care order and therefore the Local Authority shares parental responsibility with his parents. His care plan states that he is to stay in a residential foster placement. The Child runs away from his foster placement. The Child’s social worker is worried that the Child may have returned to his local area to spend time with friends who are a risk as they are known drug dealers in the area.

How Does A Recovery Order Work In This Instance?

In this instance, The Local Authority can apply to the Court for a Recovery Order and set out within the Order the addresses of the friends where they suspect that the Child may be hiding. The Recovery Order means that the Police can search these addresses to try and recover the Child from his friend’s address and use force to remove him if necessary. It is a criminal offence to intentionally obstruct an authorised person from removing a child under section 50 (9) Children Act 1989. Therefore, the friends must not try and prevent the Police from accessing their property.

Who Can Apply For A Recovery Order?

Any person who has parental responsibility for the child can make an application for a Recovery Order.

Or the designated officer if the child is subject to police protection.

The application is made to the Family Court.

How Long Does A Recovery Order Last?

The Recovery Order will expire when the child has been recovered.  If the Child ran away again the following day, another Recovery Order would have to be applied for you would not be able to rely on the order granted the previous day.

If you would like to contact us regarding a care matter don’t hesitate to call us 01207.655178

Close Menu