Family lawyers in Wrexham have expressed concern that very few parents of children in care seem to be aware that they can apply to the court to increase their level of contact, or to discharge a care order and have their child back living with them if their circumstances change.
Nathan Wright, a Partner with leading North Wales and Shropshire law firm GHP Legal, also believes some parents may be put off making such applications because they do not know they may be able to get legal aid to help them.
"Parents do not seem to realise that provided their child has not been adopted they can apply to the court if they are not happy with the level of contact they have been given," says Mr Wright. "Equally, if their child is under a full care order the parent can apply to the court to discharge the care order and have the child returned to their care, if they can prove that they have made significant improvements to their ability to successfully parent children, or to their circumstances.
"Regarding legal aid, the criteria in private family law cases, including cases involving children, changed on April 1st this year, putting the majority of cases outside the scope for eligibility. However, under the new legislation legal aid is still available for matters regarding Contact to a child in care and Discharging Care Orders. A law firm with specialists in Children matters would be able to advise about such applications to the court and about legal aid."