Care Proceedings

Care Proceedings

Who Can Make Decisions About My Child’s Care?

The right to make decisions about any child is the responsibility of those who hold parental responsibility for the child.

Why Would Social Services Get Involved in My Child’s Care?

Social Services are responsible for making sure that children are safe and are well cared for by their parents or the person looking after them. Sometimes social services may receive information that makes them worried about a child’s welfare. When this happens they are under a legal duty to take action to protect your child.

What Can Social Services Do?

1. Arrange a child protection case conference. All of the professionals involved in your child’s life will be invited to attend the meeting.

The meeting will be chaired by one person, usually an independent reviewing officer, and all of the professionals attending the meeting will be asked their views on your care of your child. The meeting has two purposes
a) to decide if your child should be placed on the child protection register and if so under which category e.g. neglect, physical or emotional harm or sexual abuse. Although your views will be considered it is the decision of the professionals only if your child’s name is placed on the register b) to agree a child protection plan to ensure that you are able to improve things for your child.

2. Pre Proceedings meeting

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss with you what can be done to protect and assist you in looking after your child. The purpose of this meeting is to prevent court proceedings if at all possible. Here at Lewis Rodgers we can provide you with free legal advice and assistance and will come with you to assist you in the meetings. Please make an appointment with Lewis Rodgers if you receive a letter from Social Services.

What if Social Services Think My Child Is at Risk Immediately?

Social services may take a number of steps to protect your child in an emergency.

This can include:

Ask the police to take your child into police protection for up to 72 hours. This would not mean that your children are looked after by the police they would be cared for by foster carers approved by the local authority.

Apply to the court for an emergency protection order, which will last initially for up to eight days. Social services can ask the court to extend this for up to seven more days.

Here at Lewis Rodgers we can provide you with free legal advice and assistance and will come with you to Court and represent your interests. Please make an appointment with Lewis Rodgers if you receive a letter from Social Services.

What Happens when Social Services Start Care Proceedings?

You may be told by your social worker that the Local Authority are making an application to court, or you will receive notice from the court telling you where and when the first hearing will be. You should have a copy of all of the documents the Local Authority file in support of their application and if you prefer those papers can be sent direct to us. Either way you should obtain legal advice and contact us straight away.

Here at Lewis Rodgers we can provide you with free legal advice and assistance and will come with you to Court and represent your interests. Please make an appointment with Lewis Rodgers if you receive a letter from Social Services.

Specialists at Lewis Rodgers

Here at Lewis Rodgers we have a wealth of experience in this area of law. Our Pamela Watson, Pauline McIntyre and Jason Lewis are members of the Law Society Children Panel.

Have a question about this service? Why not ask us?