With care and protection

When matters involve children, acting in their best interests to protect their safety, legal rights and future is of paramount importance. As these issues can be extremely complex and sensitive, finding a solicitor who really understands your needs and circumstances is crucial in reaching an effective outcome. 

If Social Services contact you because they are worried about your children, then please contact us as our team of dedicated child care solicitors can help you. This can be a very distressing time for you, especially if Social Services want to take your children into care. The Local Authority will give you notice that they intend to issue proceedings and it will mean that you may have to go to court. Our solicitors are highly trained in dealing with sensitive issues and can represent you in court hearings when required. 

With a reputation of leaders in this particular area of law, we offer legal support and guidance built on the core values of care and protection. We are passionate about what we do and will treat your case with sensitivity and understanding at all times.

Contact us to find out how we can help you and your family.

What we can help you with

We have years of experience in helping families overcome various legal challenges and complexities relating to children. These include:

  • Case Conferences
  • Public Law Outline
  • Emergency Protection Orders
  • Care and Interim Care Orders
  • Supervision Orders
  • Child Arrangement Orders
  • Special Guardianship Orders
  • Placement Orders
  • Adoption Orders
  • Secure Accommodation Orders
  • Contact with a Child in Care
  • Challenging decisions made by Social Services
  • The Inherent Jurisdiction and Children
  • Advice on Legal Funding

No matter the circumstances of the issue you’re facing, our specialist team takes the time to really get to know your situation and needs, ensuring every matter is handled with the utmost care and confidentiality.

Support for the whole family

Our dedicated child care solicitors work closely with our family law team to provide holistic advice to support the entire family. Whether you require practical advice during a divorce or separation which affects children, or financial guidance on child maintenance issues, we will work collaboratively between departments, as well as with you, to tailor an effective solution.

Don’t just take our word for it…

Our highly-experienced department is recognised as being in the top tier of the Legal 500, with our head of department, Muctar Johal identified as a leading individual for many years running. 

The legal knowledge and advice that is given – especially by Muctar Johal – is superior to advice from other legal firms.

Legal 500 2019
Why Choose Smith Partnership?

Our specialist team in child care cases is dedicated to providing a straightforward, jargon-free service. This means that any advice or guidance you receive from us is guaranteed to be easy to understand, clearly explaining your position and options at every stage. If at any point you are unsure, our friendly and approachable team are always happy to help.

With offices in Derby, Leicester, Burton upon Trent, Swadlincote and Stoke on Trent, we are always on hand with accessible, responsive advice whenever our clients require it. Our dedication to client care and expertise in this particular field is recognised by the Law Society and our membership of its Children Panel.    

Our aim is to provide you with advice which achieves the best possible results whilst ensuring the children involved are safe and protected for now and in the future.

Contact our team today

To find out how our expert team of solicitors can help you, contact us today on 0330 123 1229, send us an email via info@smithpartnership.co.uk or complete our contact form.

FAQs

The local authority has a duty to promote reasonable contact between you and your children. This could be anything from weekly visits to supervised contact at a children’s centre, unless it has obtained a court order limiting or terminating your contact. You should speak to the social worker and seek legal advice in order to challenge the local authority’s decision.

Once care proceedings are issued there is a statutory time limit of 26 weeks to conclude the matter. However, this can be increased by up to eight weeks at a time in exceptional circumstances The court will only extend the time limit if it feels it is necessary in order to deal with the case justly.

A supervision order places a duty on the local authority to advise, assist and befriend a child which can take many forms, such as one to one support or frequent visits to the child’s home. It also provides the local authority with the power to give effect to the order. Crucially, it does not give the local authority parental responsibility and they cannot remove the child without the consent of the parents or a court order.

A care order places a child in the care of the local authority until he or she reaches 18 or the order is revoked. This provides the local authority with parental responsibility in respect of the child and allows it to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as with whom the child is to live and to regulate contact. The local authority must consult with the parents and involve them in the decision making. It can only be made if the local authority satisfies the court there is evidence that the child/ren are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm attributable to the care they are receiving, and that it is proportionate and in the children(s) best interests they are made the subject of an order.

Where an application is made for a care order, the court may make a temporary order called an interim care order placing a child in the care of the local authority until it makes a final decision. The order provides the local authority with parental responsibility.

An interim care order allows the local authority to make decisions regarding your children until the final hearing, subject to certain exceptions, however, they must consult with the parents. The local authority will be able to decide with whom the child is to live.

This is an order allowing a child to be removed from their carers where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child is at immediate risk of significant harm. It is an order “requiring exceptional justification”. So long as the order lasts the local authority will share limited parental responsibility with you and others who have parental responsibility. It will enable the local authority to make significant decisions regarding where your child lives and who he/she can see and when. An Emergency Protection Order can last up to eight days but this can be extended once by a court for up to a further seven days.

The local authority cannot force you to end your relationship with your partner. However, you will almost definitely need a solicitor if it is alleged that your partner has, or is, significantly harming your children or that they present a risk of significant harm to your children. The local authority may use this as grounds to remove your children from you. They may also allege that, by continuing the relationship, you cannot adequately protect your children from harm, which would constitute grounds for removal.