Head of Family and Childcare
For free initial legal advice call our Care Proceedings Solicitors in London, Bristol and Leeds who will help you.
If you’ve been contacted by Social Services because they have concerns about your child, you may be worried and upset. You may want to know what your rights are and what you should do next.
Whether you’ve been told that Social Services will be going to Court about your child, or have been invited to a Pre-Proceedings meeting, our Care Proceedings Solicitors can help you.
If you are the parent of the child, or another person who has Parental Responsibility, such as a relative who has a Residence Order or a Child Arrangement Order, then in most cases you will be entitled to Legal Aid to cover all of your legal costs and it doesn’t matter what your financial situation is.
Our specialist team of Care Proceedings Solicitors in London, Bristol, Leeds or Manchester can represent you at Court hearings and at Pre-Proceedings meetings. For help and legal advice get in touch with our Care Proceedings Solicitors.
We can help you with:
It’s important to get legal advice as early as possible when Social Services are thinking about going to Court, so call one of our Care Proceedings Solicitors who can help you.
Care proceedings can be a complex and emotionally challenging process for families. If you are facing care proceedings, it is important to seek the advice and support of a specialist solicitor who can guide you through the process and help you protect your rights and the best interests of your child.
Care proceedings solicitors specialise in representing parents and other family members in child care proceedings. They can provide urgent advice and support in cases involving emergency protection orders, child protection plans, and court orders.
Care proceedings are initiated when there are concerns that a child may be at risk of significant harm. Social workers will investigate the situation and may make recommendations for the child's care, including foster care or adoption.
The court will then make a decision based on the evidence presented by both sides. Care proceedings solicitors can represent parents and other family members, ensuring that their rights and the best interests of the child are protected.
The 26-week rule is a requirement under the Public Law Outline that care proceedings must be completed within 26 weeks from the date of issue. This is to ensure that cases are dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible, with the best interests of the child at the forefront of decision-making.
The legal requirement for care proceedings is that there be evidence of significant harm or the risk of significant harm to a child before care proceedings can be initiated. Care proceedings solicitors can help you understand the threshold and how it applies to your case.
Care proceedings can be a challenging and emotional time for families. However, with the support of a specialist team of child care solicitors, you can navigate the process with confidence and ensure that the best interests of your child are protected.
Our team of specialists have extensive experience in representing parents and other family members in care proceedings. We work closely with our clients to provide them with the expert legal guidance and support they need to achieve the best possible outcome for their child.
If you are facing care proceedings or have concerns about your child's welfare, contact us today for urgent advice and support. We understand that every case is unique, and we will work with you to develop a tailored strategy that meets your needs and protects the best interests of your child.
We have a specialist team of child care solicitors who are dedicated to representing parents and other family members in care proceedings. Our team has extensive experience in dealing with cases involving emergency protection orders, child protection plans, and court orders.
We understand that the prospect of hiring a specialist solicitor for care proceedings can be daunting, particularly for those who may be facing financial difficulties. However, we offer a range of options, including legal aid, to help cover the costs of legal representation.
At the heart of our approach is a commitment to providing our clients with the highest level of service and support. We work closely with our clients to ensure that they fully understand the care proceedings process and are empowered to make informed decisions about their child's welfare.
Our friendly and experienced teams in London, Bristol and Leeds can help you with any issues relating to Care Proceedings for your children
Our teams have many years’ of experience helping people in situations just like yours. We’ll do all we can to help you through the Care Proceedings process using all our experience to help get the best outcome for you and your child
Our Care Proceedings team can help explain the legal process you’re going through so you understand what’s happening and the possible outcomes. We know how important it is to make sure you are involved in each stage of the process.
Our whole team specialise in Care Proceedings work and most of our Solicitors are accredited by the Law Society Children Law Scheme.
Legal Aid is automatically available for any parent, or anyone else with Parental Responsibility for the child concerned, who has to go to Court for Care Proceedings, or who has been asked to attend a Pre-Proceedings meetings.
Because you can get Legal Aid, you shouldn’t worry about the costs involved in getting legal representation and the sooner you get legal help and advice, the better for you and your child.
For anyone else Legal Aid may still be available but this will depend on your financial circumstances and the strength of your case. We will advise you if you can get Legal Aid and complete all of the paperwork for you.
If you’ve been told by Social Services that you have to go to Court about your child, you’ll be given a date for a first Court hearing. This is usually within a few days.
If Social Services are really concerned about the immediate safety of your child and they feel that the situation is urgent, they may ask the Judge to allow them to remove your child from your care at the first hearing.
A Judge can only authorise your child to be separated from you at this stage if they believe the child is at risk of suffering significant harm and if separation of your child from you is the only way of protecting them. Your child could then be placed temporarily in foster care or with a relative, under an interim care order or child arrangements order.
We know that Social Services don’t always get it right and it is essential that you get urgent, specialist legal advice and prepare fully for this first hearing.
Your case will be dealt with by the Family Court. This is a specialist Court which only deals with family cases. Cases are usually dealt with in private and members of the public aren’t allowed into the Court.
Some cases are dealt with by Magistrates, who are Lay Judges and there are usually 3 of them, along with a qualified legal advisor. If you don’t have Magistrates, you will have either a District or a Circuit Judge, who are highly trained, experienced Lawyers. For the most complicated cases, a High Court Judge may hear your case.
We can explain who will be dealing with your case and what this means for you.
At the end of the case, the Court will decide what should happen in the longer term. There are a number of different outcomes from Care Proceedings and the Judge has powers to make a range of Court Orders to reflect the outcome. These include:
The Judge could decide that you’ve dealt with all of the concerns raised by Social Services, or that the concerns are not serious enough to justify a Court Order being made. Your child stays with you, at home, with no Court Order in place.
The Judge may feel that you have dealt with the concerns enough for your child to stay with you but may worry that things could go wrong in the future. In this situation, the Judge could make a Supervision Order.
This puts a duty on your social worker to continue to give you advice and support and to monitor your care of your child.
It doesn’t give Social Services Parental Responsibility for your child and the Supervision Order will usually last for 12 months.
If all goes well, the Supervision Order will come to an end after that time. If social workers still have concerns, they may go back to Court and ask for the Order to be extended.
If the Judge decides that it’s not possible for your child to be in your care, they could make a Care Order.
A Care Order gives Social Services Parental Responsibility for your child and allows them to place your child in long-term foster care, or sometimes with a relative.
A Care Order lasts until your child is 18, unless you go back to Court and the Judge decides that the Order can come to an end.
The Judge could decide that your child can’t stay in your care but feels that your child’s welfare is best met by being cared for by a relative. In these circumstances, the Court will make a Special Guardianship Order.
Your child will be placed into the care of someone else, such as a grandparent, on a long-term basis and the “Special Guardian” will share Parental Responsibility for your child with you.
In a very small number of cases, and usually only with younger children, the Court could decide that the only long-term option for your child is adoption.
The Court can only go down this route if there is truly no other alternative, such as another family member. In these cases, the Court can make a Placement Order which allows Social Services to place your child with future adopters for adoption at a later date.
Our client Charlotte (not her real name) contacted us for help when she was told that Social Services were starting Court proceedings because of their concerns about her children.
Read on about how we helped Charlotte (not her real name) get her children back.
Whatever decision is made about your child at the first Court hearing, this won’t be the end.
Each and every case is different, so it really depends but the law says that all childcare cases should generally be finished within 26 weeks. This time period can only be extended in exceptional circumstances.
A timetable for your case will be fixed early on in the Care Proceedings process and your Solicitor will talk you through this timetable.
The Judge may say that you need to get help or support with your parenting, relationships, health or lifestyle and you should do this as soon as you can. The Court will be looking for changes throughout the proceedings and the quicker you make these changes, the easier it’ll be to persuade the Court that things will be better for your children as a result.
Fill in the form below to get in touch with one of our dedicated team members, or call our team today on: 0808 239 4184