Social Services are responsible for making sure that children are safe and well cared for. If Social Services believe that your child is suffering serious harm, or is likely to suffer serious harm in the future, the Local Authority will apply to the Court for a Care Order. In an emergency the Local Authority may apply to Court for an emergency protection order or may ask the police to take your child into police protection for up to 72 hours.
It is very important that you instruct a Solicitor as soon as you receive notice that Social Services are applying for a Care Order. At the first hearing the Court will decide whether to make an interim care order which will determine where the child lives until the final hearing.
We have extensive experience in representing parents in Care proceedings and public law proceedings and in some situations can arrange home appointments.
We have a member of the Law Society Children Panel in our team and are accredited specialists in children law.
As a parent or other person with parental responsibility, you are eligible for non-means, non-merit tested legal aid, irrespective of how much income or capital you have.
Public Law Outline (PLO) Meetings and Child Protection Case Conferences
Before the Local Authority start care proceedings, they may set up a PLO meeting to discuss their concerns, and to see whether Court proceedings can be avoided. You and your Solicitor will be invited to this meeting.
As a parent, you will be entitled to free legal advice for attendance at the PLO meeting.
We are able to advise in relation to Child Protection Case Conferences. Public funding for this depends on your capital and income.