We will handle your case with a sympathetic approach as we understand that this will be a stressful and confusing time.
Our child care team is able to give specialist advice and representation when social services are involved with your family. Our specialist solicitors are experienced in providing advice from the very start of social services involvement. We will assess whether you are financially eligible under the Legal Help scheme to advise you on issues that have brought your family to social services’ attention.
We find that early advice can help to resolve the situation and we will advise you what steps to take to try and avoid care proceedings being brought to court. Please contact us if social services have decided to assess your family, where social services have decided to convene a Child Protection Case Conference or if you need advice about social services procedures. Social services may become involved with you even before your child has been born and we can advise in all such situations.
Pre proceedings advice
Before social services take court proceedings they should usually send you a letter explaining their concerns about your care of the child. As soon as you receive this type of letter you can receive free legal advice regardless of your financial means. Social services usually invite you to attend a meeting. We can attend the meeting with you and advise you how to try and prevent social services taking your case to court.
Care and supervision proceedings
Social services may start court proceedings seeking the permanent removal of your children from your care. They will have to prove to the court that there is reason to believe that your child has suffered significant harm or will do so if your child is not removed from your care. These proceedings are very complex and it is essential that you have high quality specialist representation to guide you through the case. All of our child care solicitors specialise in this area of law. We will usually represent you in court ourselves or ensure that a specialist barrister is appointed to your case. You will always be eligible to receive free legal aid in these cases regardless of your financial means.
Contact with children in care
Throughout care proceedings we will always advise you about how to ensure that you are able to see your children. If your child is permanently removed from your care the child’s care plan should set out the contact that you should have. Sometimes the child’s circumstances may change and you may need further advice about having contact with your child. We are happy to provide advice under the Legal Help Scheme subject to your financial eligibility and we will assist you to make an application for legal aid if you have a case to take to court.
Discharge of a care order
If your child has been permanently removed from your care and placed in foster care but your circumstances have changed, you may want advice about whether the child can be returned to your care. We will be happy to provide such advice under the Legal Help scheme subject to your financial eligibility and assist you to make a legal aid application if there is merit in you taking your case to court.