Our Family Law experts have provided some information and answers here to some frequently asked questions regularly raised by our clients about care proceedings.
Can social workers take my child away from me?
If social workers with Children Services (a part of the local authority) wanted to remove a parent or other primary carer’s child or children, they would have to be able to demonstrate that the child or children in question had been seriously harmed, or would be likely to suffer from significant harm in the future if no action were taken.
If you receive a letter from Children Services in which concerns are raised about the care you give to your child or children, then you should phone us immediately and we can discuss your particular circumstances.
If my children are taken into foster care, can I see them?
The local authority has a duty to ensure that any ‘looked after child’ is able to have suitable contact with close family members. If an involved family member does not feel that the contact arrangements are in the children’s best interests and therefore disagrees with Children Services, then there will usually be an opportunity for that individual to ask the court to decide what arrangements should be in place.
If my children are taken into foster care, can my family offer to look after them?
The local authority has a duty to consider whether it would be better to place a ‘looked after child’ with a family member rather than a foster carer. The court would usually only agree to a child going to live with an extended family member if that would meet that child’s best interests. The court would usually only be in a position to know this after assessments of the proposed family member.
If the local authority brings care proceedings, will it cost me to instruct a solicitor?
Parents and others with ‘parental responsibility’ are automatically eligible for public funding regardless of their income and the circumstances of the case.