Childcare Proceedings Solicitors
Our experienced child care proceedings solicitors specialise in representing parents and family members of children involved in local authority care proceedings.
If social services are involved with your family, it’s important that you seek legal advice immediately.
Our care proceedings expertise
From your initial meeting to representing you in court proceedings, our priority is securing the best outcome for you and your family. Facing care proceedings is tough and many of our clients will not have any experience of dealing with lawyers; our solicitors provide practical and empathetic advice throughout your case whilst protecting your best interests.
Our care proceedings solicitors can also represent you at court, if necessary. We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice before starting proceedings.
The welfare of the child is always of paramount importance in proceedings relating to child protection. Many of our family lawyers are members of the Law Society Children Panel and are accredited to represent children in care cases.
If you’re a parent who is involved in childcare proceedings, you are entitled to public funding. Our child care proceedings solicitors can advise you on the process of obtaining this funding and represent you at meetings with social services.
Our child care solicitors can also represent grandparents and other family members. Your lawyer can assess your eligibility for public funding if you are not a parent.
Get in touch with our care proceedings solicitors
If you need advice on care proceedings or are seeking representation as a family member of a child who is involved in local authority care proceedings, get in touch. Call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.
What are care proceedings?
Care proceedings happen when a local authority makes an application for an order to safeguard the welfare of a child. The most common types of proceedings are care orders, supervision orders and emergency protection orders.
A care order places a child under the protection of social services. If granted, this type of order gives the local authority parental responsibility for the child. It can then make decisions relating to the child’s upbringing and welfare, and decide to move the child into foster care, if necessary.
The court can only grant the local authority a care order if the child is being significantly harmed, or is at risk of suffering significant harm at the hands of the child’s parents or the parents are unable to protect the child from harm as they cannot control them.
Our specialist solicitors can advise parents or other family members on challenging care orders where appropriate.
This order sets out the legal requirement for a child to be supervised by social services. A supervision order is obtained through the court by the relevant local authority and gives the local authority a duty to advise, befriend and assist a child.
As with a care order, a supervision order can only be granted if the child is being, or is at risk of being, significantly harmed.
Emergency protection orders
An emergency protection order aims to protecting a child from immediate physical, mental or emotional harm. As these types of order are often made at short notice by the local authority, it is vital that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
How does the court decide during care proceedings?
If you are a parent, or a relative wanting to care for a child subject to care proceedings, the court will want to see an assessment of your parenting undertaken by a social worker. The court may want to see other evidence from people who know the children or your parenting, such as the Health Visitor or school. The court might order specialist assessments such as from a psychologist or drug tests. Our team will be able to advise you if this is requested.
Once all the evidence has been gathered, either agreement will be reached about the best plan for the children, or if agreement cannot be reached, you may need to give evidence to the court for the Judge to decide.
Sometimes the court considers that it is unsafe for children to remain at home during the court case whilst assessments are undertaken.
The role of Cafcass
Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) represents children in family court cases in England. They look at what is safe for children and what is in their best interests, and advise the court accordingly.
If care proceedings are started for your child, Cafcass will appoint a Guardian and solicitor for the child. The Cafcass Guardian will make recommendations to the court about the plans for the children.
Contact our child care proceedings solicitors
Issues concerning child protection require advice from a specialist child law solicitor. Our care proceedings solicitors work with clients across the South West from our offices in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.