Social Services Solicitors in Scunthorpe & Goole
If social services become involved in the welfare of your child, it is vital that you access the support of an expert social services solicitor. At Symes Bains Broomer, we understand how frightening it can be to imagine your child being taken into care. Our social services solicitors are here to help you protect your family and your children.
We appreciate that you may be confused about the process of dealing with social services and unsure of your legal position. We have a wealth of experience supporting clients who have been contacted by social services.
If you have received a ‘letter before proceedings’ regarding the welfare of your child, you will be eligible for Legal Aid support to cover your legal fees. Our solicitors can provide tailor-made, understanding legal advice according to your circumstances.
We offer full legal support for dealing with social services, including:
- Understanding your pre-proceedings letter
- Discussing matters with social services on your behalf
- Preparing you for the pre-proceedings meeting and representing your case
- Advice and support if social services have instigated care proceedings
If you have been contacted by social services concerning the welfare of your children, we can support you through every stage of your case. We have local teams in Scunthorpe or Goole and work with clients across Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.
Legal Aid for social services cases
If you are part of a social services case, you could be entitled to Legal Aid. For example, if you have been sent a ‘letter before proceedings’ or proceedings have already been issued, you will automatically gain access to Legal Aid.
If you have not received a ‘letter before proceedings’ yet there is a case open concerning the welfare of your child, your legal fees will depend on the details of your case.
We understand that our clients need a clear break down of their legal fees at the beginning. Please get in touch to discuss your case and receive a fee estimate based on the specifics of your situation.
How our social services lawyers can help
Understanding your ‘letter before proceedings’
If you have received a ‘letter before proceedings’, this indicates that social services are contemplating taking your child into care. The letter will explain the reasons behind this, providing details about their concerns.
Naturally, the letter will be hard to read. You will probably be feeling scared and unsure of the next steps. As soon as you receive this letter, it is important to contact a solicitor to access the legal support you need.
We can support you in interpreting and understanding the letter, addressing the concerns raised and assessing your options, both sensitively and pragmatically.
Making contact with social services
Discussing your case with social services can be tough. Due to the sensitive nature of such matters, you may be worried about the outcome.
Our social services solicitors can liaise with social services on your behalf. We can evaluate the particulars of your case and ensure that you have the legal assistance that you need during this challenging time.
Pre-proceedings meeting support
If you have been invited to a pre-proceedings meeting, our solicitors can support you in preparing for the meeting and attend the meeting with you.
The pre-proceedings meeting allows social services to raise the issues they have and attempt to create a plan to improve the child’s welfare. Social services will use the meeting to avoid starting care proceedings where possible. Parents will have the opportunity to discuss the relevant matters that relate to their case.
Our experienced social services lawyers can help parents to communicate with social services during the meeting, working to achieve the most favourable outcome moving forward.
Common questions about social services proceedings
What should I do if I have received a ‘letter before proceedings’ from social services?
If social services have sent you a ‘letter before proceedings’, this means that they have concerns regarding the welfare of your child and may believe that your child may not be receiving adequate care. Alternatively, the letter might indicate that your child has behavioural needs that you may not be able to manage by yourself.
Essentially, receiving this letter indicates that social services is contemplating contacting the court to arrange to take your child into care. It is vital that you read the letter carefully and take into consideration all the points raised.
The letter will ask you to come to a pre-proceedings meeting, and it is crucial that you attend this meeting. You should contact a social services solicitor immediately so that they can offer legal advice, as well as attend the meeting with you.
What should I do if social services would like to interview my child?
If social services want to interview your child, this is likely because they are worried about their welfare. They might suspect that your child has been harmed, is at risk of harm or that their needs are not being met.
It can be difficult to let social services interview your child. You might feel worried or emotional, particularly if social services have asked to talk to your child alone. Regardless, it is not advisable to refuse to let social services talk to them. Doing so is likely to reflect badly on your case.
The likelihood is that if you refuse, social services might ask for a child assessment order. This means that you will be legally obligated to allow your child to undergo an assessment.
If social services ask to interview your child, get in touch with our family lawyers at Symes Baines Broomer for advice and legal support.
Can social services take my child away?
Under certain circumstances, social services may take steps to take your child into care with reference to Section 47 of the Children Act 1989. To start the process of taking a child away from their parents, at least one of the following criteria must be satisfied:
- An emergency protection order or an emergency care order has been made by the Court
- A Court order is yet to be granted. However, the authorities have taken steps to remove the child. This option is only used in severe circumstances and means the removal of the child for a 72-hour period only
- You or someone with parental responsibility has agreed
- Care proceedings have concluded that the child should be taken into care for the purposes of child protection and their welfare
What should I do if social services are attempting to take my child away?
Social services must prove to the Court that they have attempted to support you to remedy the situation with your child. Only then is the Court able to consider granting an order to remove the child.
If you are involved in a case with social services, you should contact a lawyer to represent you. It is best to cooperate with social services and attempt to make any recommendations that they have suggested as part of an ongoing care and welfare plan.
What happens at a pre-proceedings meeting?
At a pre-proceeding meeting, the parents, their solicitor, and the social worker will have the chance to discuss the problems and make a plan to support the child’s welfare.
During the meeting, all parties will discuss their concerns and respond to one another’s issues. The meeting may be used to determine the type of support that the family might need, either from third-party agencies or from social services.
The social worker will establish timeframes associated with the plan and ensure that the parents know what is expected. Parents can use this meeting to communicate any further support they might need from social services.
Social services will review the case on an ongoing basis. If they are not eventually satisfied that improvements have been made, they may start a care proceedings process to remove the child.
If you have been informed that social services are starting care proceedings for your child and you do not yet have legal support, contact our expert lawyers today.
Our social services solicitors’ fees
All costs will be clearly explained to you during your initial consultation with our team. In most cases, you will be eligible for Legal Aid support to cover your legal fees for dealing with social services proceedings.
Contact our social services solicitors in Scunthorpe and Goole
If you need legal support with social services related matters and would like to discuss the different options available, please call us on 01724 281 616, email us at email@example.com or fill in our enquiry form.