Child Welfare comes under the remit of the Local Authority and Social Services and they have a duty to investigate any concerns or allegations of risks to children within their area.
It can be a very worrying time when social services become involved and raise concerns about the care being given to children. Our lawyers understand how the law may affect you and your family and they are able to provide specialist advice to any parties involved with social services.
Social Services can become involved with a family where there is a concern that a child is at risk of neglect or abuse. Their role is to determine whether the environment is safe for the child. If they consider that it is an unsafe environment, they will develop a plan for the child. These plans can involve social care and other professionals working with the family to ensure the safety of the child. This can be under a Child in Need plan, a Child Protection plan or the Public Law Outline (PLO).
If the concerns are significant and there is a risk that the child or children will suffer significant harm as a result, social services can issue Care Proceedings, which is an application to bring the case before the Court. In those circumstances social services will prepare a Care Plan for the Court to set out what they think is in the best interests of the children. Care Plans can involve several different aspects or actions to ensure the safety of the child, for example:
- Continuing to work with the family to improve parenting to create a safer environment for the child,
- the child going to live with a relative or another person (a special guardian),
- the child going to live with a foster parent,
- the child being adopted.
Our lawyers regularly advise and represent parents, children and guardians, and other family members in Care Proceedings issued by the local authority. They will accompany you to PLO (Public Law Outline) meetings and will represent you if your matter proceeds to court.
Legal Aid is often available to parents and children involved in public law cases. The government’s Legal Aid (hyperlink to www.gov.uk/legalaid) website provides more detailed information about the qualifying criteria for receiving Legal Aid.
Free 30 minute appointment
Our family law department offers an initial 30-minute appointment free of charge. You will meet with one of our lawyer to discuss your situation and based on the discussion we will be able to advise you on the options available to you and how we can help you. During this meeting we will also check whether you are eligible for Legal Aid