Parenting orders

A parenting order is an order under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The parenting order aims to help and support parents when their children get into trouble.

A court may make an order on a parent or guardian if:

  • a juvenile (ten to 16 year-old) is convicted of an offence
  • a child of ten and over is made subject of an anti-social behaviour order or a sex offender order
  • a child under ten is made subject of a child safety order.

The court will also be able to impose this order when someone has been convicted of failing to ensure their child attends school regularly.

Any parent or carer that a young person lives with, and this may include a step-parent, can be given an order. A parent, who is not living with the young person, but has regular contact, may be issued with an order separately.

What do I need to do?

Parenting orders require the family or carers of the young person in trouble to attend court for an assessment. The court can then collect information on their family circumstances and to decide what affect a parenting order may have.

The parenting order is not officially issued until a decision has been made based on this assessment. The assessment involves talking to a youth offending service officer who talks to the family about the problems and issues that may have contributed to the court appearance.

The officer will consider whether a parenting order would be suitable, or whether voluntary help would be acceptable. They recommend the support that would be most helpful for the young person and their family.

If issued with a parenting order, you may be required to attend counselling or guidance sessions where you will receive help with:

  • parenting skills
  • managing young people's behaviour
  • learning how to respond more effectively to challenging adolescent demands
  • ensuring your child is home during set hours
  • ensuring your attend school regularly.

Penalties for not responding

If you cannot attend court on a parenting order due to illness, you must telephone the named responsible officer and explain the reason you are unable to attend. You may be asked to produce a doctor's note.

Though a parenting order can be made in the absence of the parent or guardian in court, a parent should try to attend court to support their child.

Attending may give them the opportunity to express their views if asked by the court. Their solicitor will give them advice about being placed on a parenting order and their rights to appeal against it.

If an order is issued and you are found in breach of the conditions without genuine reason, you will be given a written warning. If you still fail to attend, a review meeting will be held. Further failure to comply will result in being taken back to court.

If convicted, the parent could be liable for a fine up to £1,000.