The Local Authority (Social Services) can become involved with your family for a number of reasons. We can help in all circumstances, be it to offer initial advice, attend meetings with you or advise on documents you are asked to sign.
When the Local Authority first become involved they will carry out an assessment to see what, if any, future involvement they will have with your family. You should be told how long this process will take and what the next steps will be.
Child in Need
If the Local Authority feel that your child has a particular need that you require help with meeting then they will formulate a Child in Need plan.
The Local Authority may convene a Child Protection Conference if they are concerned that your child is at risk of four different types of abuse: Physical, Emotional, Neglect or Sexual Abuse. We can advise you about the process and attend the Child Protection Conference meetings with you.
If the Local Authority is considering applying for a Care Order in respect of your child they should convene a Pre-Proceedings meeting to let you know what they are concerned about and what their plans are. You will receive a letter notifying you of this meeting. It is essential that a solicitor attends this meeting with you so we can advise and assist you throughout that process.
The Local Authority may ask you to sign a written agreement, which is usually a list of conditions they wish you to follow in relation to the care of your child. We strongly advise that you seek our advice before signing any documents.
Section 20 Accommodation
Whilst investigating their concerns the Local Authority may ask you to agree to your child being placed away from you (under a section 20 agreement), usually in foster care, for a short period of time. It is vital that you seek legal advice before agreeing to your child being removed from your care.
How we can help
Our experienced team deal with all the above on a day to day basis. We can grant you legal aid if you are eligible for it and in some circumstances it is non means tested. Please call Melanie Stafford on 01733 896789 for more information.