Are Children Services involved with your family? Are you at risk of losing your children? Have you received a letter before proceedings? Your local authority’s Children Services monitor the welfare of the area’s children. It’s their responsibility to ensure all children have a certain standard of care and are not at risk of harm
"I was recommended to go to Bendles and the manner in which my matter was handled was very good. I would use the firm again and recommend to others."
Matters aren’t instantly taken to court unless there is an emergency and we can try and help you avoid it all together. We’ve got a wealth of experience dealing with childcare. We’ll work with you to get the best outcome for you and your child.
Before there’s even any hint of child care proceedings, you’ll have a social worker and a child protection plan. This exists to help keep your child safe. Within this, social workers should work with you and your wider family to ensure your child's safe upbringing.
For care proceedings to start, the local authority must apply for a Care Order. They’ll do this if they think your child has suffered serious harm or is at risk of doing so.
There are steps before care proceedings begin. It's possible to avoid proceedings all together.
Letter Before Proceedings /Pre-proceedings Meeting
This is also known as a Public Law Outline (PLO) meeting. This is set up by Social Services to raise their concerns. They’ll also attempt to come to an agreement with you over ways to improve your child’s care. This is a warning from your social worker that care proceedings may start. It gives you a last chance to improve your parenting in order to avoid proceedings starting.
Bendles will give you a solicitor to accompany you. They'll discuss with you and the local authority changes they think you need to make. We’ll do our best to help you come to an agreement. This will give you the relief of avoiding court, and the stress that comes with it.
If it’s not possible to come to an agreement, for whatever reason, then court is the next step.
Although it may be difficult, you should try and co-operate with your social worker. Court proceedings can take up to 26 weeks to complete. They can last even longer for complex cases.
A care plan will be presented once court has decided where your child will live. If you have any disagreements with this, our solicitor will help you raise them.
Throughout the entire process, Bendles will fight your corner. Our team of childcare experts have extensive experience of dealing with care proceedings, representing both parents, grandparents and children. We work will all parties to get the best possible result for the children involved.
What about legal fees?
In important cases such as these, you’re entitled to legal aid. Getting representation in care proceedings is a right for a parent.
So you don’t have to worry about running up huge legal fees, just about keeping your child. We are also experts on providing advice not only to parents in care proceedings but to grandparents, aunts, uncles and any other interested family member or person with a connection to the child.
Our child care experts are members of The Law Society’s Children Panel. Being a member shows a lawyer has a wealth of relevant experience, knowledge and evidence of best practice. Each of our Children Panel members has undergone rigorous training and assessment by child law experts.
Get in touch with one of our child care experts, Alison Bone or Rebecca Tonkin, today. Give us a call on 01228 522215 to arrange a free meeting.