I have received a pre-proceedings/PLO letter, what should I do?

A Local Authority may hold pre-proceedings meetings if they have significant concerns about the care being provided to a child by their parents. The Local Authority will only initiate this process when they want to offer parents one final opportunity to work with professionals to make positive changes so that they can safely care for their child. If this process fails, the Local Authority can make an application to the court and start Care Proceedings.

If you have been invited to attend a pre-proceedings meeting, you will be eligible for legal aid and it is important that you seek professional advice as soon as possible.

The pre-proceedings process usually lasts for approximately 12 weeks, you will have an initial meeting, then a review meeting will take place approximately 6 weeks later and a final meeting at approximately 12 weeks later. However, this can change subject to be the circumstances.

At the meeting you will attend with your Solicitor the social worker will attend with their team manager and their legal representative. The team manager will go through the letter setting out the concerns and you will have the opportunity to raise your own concerns during this meeting. We will be able to raise any legal issues during the meeting and ensure you are protected and have your voice heard.

You will be given a plan of work by the local authority which will outline what they would like to see from you during the pre-proceedings process.  The local authority may refer you to courses or ask you to engage with assessments, this is something we can advise you on.

If at the conclusion of the process no improvements have been made or if at any point there are serious concerns about the safety of the child, the local authority can make an application to the court and could ask the court to move the child from home.

How we can help?

At Smith Partnership, we can help you throughout the Local Authority’s involvement. We have solicitors across the East Midlands who are experienced in child protection matters, If you would like to discuss this further please contact us on 0330 123 1229.

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