If you have a child who has been placed in the Foster Care with the Social Services department of the Local Authority, it is important and a requirement that you are kept informed about your child’s placement. You may have concerns about them or you may be having problems securing contact with your child in care and therefore you may need to seek legal advice.
At hpjv solicitors we understand that these situations can be very frustrating and distressing. We can help you and offer legal advice on seeking contact with your child or accessing information and answers from the Local Authority regarding your child’s wellbeing and placement.
Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be eligible for legal aid for some children in care matters.
What our children in care solicitors in Newport can do for you
Where your child has been taken into care or social services are involved in your family, it is essential to consult a solicitor who understands the legal procedures commanding the situation.
Our family law solicitors are absolutely dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for your family. We deeply sympathise with the challenges you are facing and the distress that comes with being separated from your child.
We can help in all types of children in care matters and child care legal proceedings, including:
- Pre proceedings
- Legal proceedings, including:
- Care Order and Interim Care Order proceedings
- Supervision Orders
- Police Protection Orders
- Emergency Protection Orders
- Placement Orders
- Adoptions Orders
- Special Guardianship Orders
- Child Arrangements Orders
- Contact with a child in care
- Ensuring your child’s welfare is protected
- Obtaining information about your child’s whereabouts
- Child Protection Review Conferences
The aim of pre proceedings is to avoid court proceedings in children and care matters. The local authority will try to work with you to address any concerns and facilitate support to reduce those concerns.
Typically, the local authority will first send you a Letter Before Proceedings. Upon receiving this letter, it is important to contact us so we can provide advice about what to do and how to engage with the process.
Legal care proceedings
We can provide support, guidance, and expert advice throughout any care proceedings, including applications for Care Orders, Supervision Orders, Placement Orders, Child Arrangement Orders, and emergency orders.
Our specialist children in care team know exactly how to promote your rights as parents and engage with the proceedings to try and resolve any issues.
For more information, please visit our child care proceedings page.
Contact with a child in care
In the vast majority of situations, it is in the best interests of your child to have contact with you while they are in care. In fact, the law states that your local authority must allow reasonable contact with your child if you are their parent or guardian.
Contact could take place in a number of ways, for example, supervised visits, phone calls, letters, community visits (contact which takes place in public places), or overnight stays.
We can help you liaise with the local authority about contact with your child as well as supporting you during court applications to vary or increase contact.
Ensuring your child’s welfare is protected
When your child is taken into care, the local authority and care team will become responsible for most matters relating to your children, including where they will live, who will take care of them, and where they will go to school. However, if you voluntarily agree to your child going into care (and there is therefore no Care Order in place), you will share responsibility to make decisions for your children.
Whatever the circumstances behind your child going into care, the local authority has strict duties to protect and promote their welfare, including:
- Ensuring the child is properly looked after to an appropriate standard of care
- Checking the person/people looking after your child is/are suitable
- Properly training foster carers, social workers and other staff
- Ensuring your child’s views are taken into account, including matters of religion and culture
- Making sure your child knows how to complain if necessary
If you believe the local authority is not looking after your child properly, you can make a complaint.
Wherever possible, we can help with your involvement in your child’s care plan and ensuring your wishes about what is best for your child are heard.
Obtaining information about your child’s whereabouts
The local authority must take reasonable steps to keep you (as someone with parental responsibility) informed about the whereabouts of your child after they have been taken into care. The only time they can withhold your child’s location is if they have reasonable reason to believe the child’s welfare would be put at risk.
Child Protection Conferences
If the local authority or social care team considers your child to be at risk of suffering significant harm, there will likely be an assessment of your home life and care of the child.
Further to any assessment, a Child Protection Conference will be held to review the situation and decide whether a Child Protection Plan to safeguard the child is needed. Similarly, further Child Protection Review Conferences may be held to decide whether the Plan is no longer needed.
As a parent or guardian, you will be invited to attend any Child Protection Conferences (apart from in certain circumstances) and your wishes will typically be taken into account during any decision.
Why choose hpjv’s children in care solicitors?
Our team are members of the Law Society Children Law Accreditation Scheme and the Family Law Advanced Accreditation Scheme. This means we are specially qualified to deal with complex matters involving children and act as representatives for children during legal proceedings.
We believe that every person should have an equal opportunity to try and resolve any care issues. Therefore, depending on your individual circumstances, you may be eligible for legal aid for some children in care matters.
hpjv Solicitors is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).