Social services are issuing Care Proceedings, what does this mean?

This is when the Local Authority make an application to the court for an order in respect of your child/children. 

The Local Authority may be involved with you and your family before they decide to issue an application at court. The Local Authority will only make an application to the court if they are concerned that your child/children are at risk of "significant harm" or that they have suffered "significant harm" whilst in your care. 

When making the application, the Local Authority will need to prepare something called a Threshold Document which will set out exactly what the concerns are in respect of each parent. The social worker will also prepare a Statement setting out what the concerns are alongside what the local authority is asking the court to do. This will be accompanied by a care plan which will set out the Local Authority plan for your child/children. This plan will identify where the Local Authority believe your child/children should live and should also recommend what level of contact should be offered by the Local Authority to parents and extended family members, including siblings regardless of whether they form part of the proceedings.

These documents will then be sent to the court and if you are a parent or have Parental Responsibility for the child/children, you will be notified of the first hearing date.  This is when you should see a solicitor who will assist you in obtaining public funding, which is free for parents. Once funding has been secured, your solicitor can represent you at court. 

If you are a parent then you will automatically qualify for free Legal Aid in Care Proceedings, you may also qualify for legal aid if you hold parental responsibility for a child by virtue of an order. It is important that you contact a solicitor as soon as you receive notification that care proceedings are being issued.

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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