Reasons for social services to get involved
There are many reasons why social services could get involved with the care of your child. If they suspect, and have reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is suffering, likely to suffer or if there is a risk of significant harm to a child, social services will get involved.
Common scenarios where social services would likely get involved include:
- If the child appears harmed, either through physical appearance or their behaviour
- If there is suspected violence in the household. Either between the adults in the house, or directly towards the child
- If there is suspected sexual abuse that the child is subjected or witness to
- If there is any suspicion of neglect, including not properly washing or feeding the child
- If there is suspicion that the child is not receiving the correct education
Different people who are involved in the child’s life may feel the need to intervene and may contact social services on your child’s behalf. These people could include GP’s, nursery workers, teachers, other family member, neighbours, friends, or other acquaintances.
Can social services remove a child from their home?
Social services must be able to provide evidence to prove that your child is at risk within your household and under your care before taking any steps to have your child removed.
However, once there is a reasonable cause to suspect a risk to the child’s wellbeing, social services will be able to carry out an in-depth assessment of the safety of your child and of your ability to care for them. The aim of this assessment will be to ascertain what further intervention, such as starting care proceedings, is required to safeguard the child.
In cases where there is deemed to be an imminent risk to the child, proceedings will be started, and an interim care order may be put in place. If this happens, your child will temporarily be removed from your care until a permanent solution is found and the proceedings have completed.
A child can also be removed from their home under an emergency protection order (EPO). An emergency protection order may be applied for under section 44 of the Children Act 1989 by social services, the police, or the NSPCC if the child is deemed in imminent risk of physical or emotional harm. In addition, if the parents give their consent through a section 20 agreement, the child can be temporarily removed from the house too.
Care proceedings process and hearings
You are in all cases entitled to representation by a solicitor when proceedings are issued, and in most cases you are entitled to Legal Aid, regardless of your financial position.
Our care proceedings solicitors can guide you through the process, represent you at hearings and give you advice wherever you need it.
You will always be party to the proceedings, which means that you will be able to attend all hearings and receive all documents relating to your case. You will also receive all documents and reports from social services and the evidence they have provided to support their claims.
There are multiple hearings as part of the proceedings process you may need to attend. These include:
- A Case Management Hearing
- An Issues Resolution Hearing
- A Final Hearing
If an interim care order is requested by social services a separate meeting will be held for this too.
You may not need to go through the entire process, as a solution could be reached at an earlier stage. If you do need to go through the Final Hearing you will likely be requested to make a statement, which our solicitors can prepare you for.
Possible outcomes of a final hearing in care proceedings
Once the Final Hearing is concluded a decision will be made on where your child will live and what further steps will be taken to safeguard your child.
There are several possible outcomes to proceedings. These outcomes include the below final orders the court could make:
- Care Order
- Supervision Order
- Emergency Protection Order
- Placement Order
- Adoption Order
- Discharge of Care Order
Support with care proceedings and social services – Manchester and Blackburn
It can be a very stressful time, and the outcome of the proceedings will likely have a significant impact on your life and the life of your child.
We can support you throughout the care proceedings process, representing you at hearings and providing you with our expert advice and guidance when you need it. We will work with you and your family in order to get the best possible outcome.
Get in touch today for further information on how we can support you.
Please note: We are a solicitor firm with offices in Manchester and Blackburn, United Kingdom, and can only assist in family law matters to those living in England and Wales.
Starting the process couldn’t be more simple!
- Contact us Get in touch however suits you best and arrange a consulation with one of our solicitors
- Meet an expert You’ll meet the expert solicitor assigned to your case and discuss all the necessary details
- Authorise Once we’ve got all the details of your case and you’re happy to proceed, just give us the go-ahead
- We get to work It’s time for us to get to work! We’ll set up your file on our system and get to work right away
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