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Child Care or Issues Involving Social Services Blog

Special Guardianship - An Agenda for Change

Julia Shaikh
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In August and November 2019, I wrote articles considering whether Special Guardianship Orders required reform. The case of Re P-S (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 1407  spurred the need for change. Developments continue within this area of law....

Care Proceedings are lasting longer in Court due to COVID-19

Chelsea  Harris
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The duration of Care Proceedings in Court has increased since the beginning of the lockdown and has reached the longest length since the 26-week target rule was introduced in 2014, despite the number of cases being issued falling in 2019. Care Proceedings...

I have been asked to leave my family home away from partner and children by Social Services - what does this mean?

Jasmine Lees
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When the Local Authority have safeguarding concerns about a person within a household, they may ask them to leave the family home away from the children and other adults within the home to allow for various safeguarding assessments to be completed. The Local...

What is an Investigation in children matters? What types of investigations are there?

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There are two types of investigations, a Section 47 investigation, and a Section 17 investigation. Within 24 hours of suspected harm being reported it is the Social Workers decision in regards to what investigation is required. They will decide one of...

Social Services have asked me to leave the family home

Julia Shaikh
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What can I do in these circumstances? Parents often ask this question when seeking advice from our Care Team: When Social Services become involved with parents in relation to concerns about their child, they sometimes ask one parent to leave the family...

The Local Authority want to complete a Risk Assessment, what does this mean?

Chelsea  Harris
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The Local Authority are likely to want to complete a risk assessment where they consider there to be a likelihood of a significant risk of harm to a child. Where there are concerns around domestic violence in a relationship, allegations of sexual or physical...

What happens if do not want to care for my baby / child anymore?

Jasmine Lees
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The Local Authority (also known as Social Services) often become involved with families where there are concerns about the care being afforded to any child within a home. However, sometimes the Local Authority are approached by parents who feel that they are...

Received a letter from Social Services/Local Authority? What do I do?

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The Local Authority can become involved in your family life for a number of reasons. This may be because they think you or someone else in your family may have done something to harm the child/children. They can also become involved even if you do not give...

Will I get free legal advice if the Local Authority become involved with my family?

Chelsea  Harris
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Depending upon the extent of the involvement by the Local Authority, you may be eligible for free legal help under three levels of public funding Legal Help Level 1, Legal Help Level 2 or Full Representation. The lowest level of Local Authority involvement...

Am I allowed to physical chastise my child such as smacking them?

Jasmine Lees
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The issue of smacking a child as a form of punishment or as a way to control a child’s behaviour is a contentious subject which divides public opinion. The issue has recently hit the headlines after Scotland introduced a law banning the smacking of...

Local Authority concerns about drug and alcohol use around children

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The Local Authority have concerns about drug use and excessive use of alcohol around my children – what should I do? Worried family members, professionals or members of the public may notify the Local Authority of concerns about parents or carers...

According to Ofsted, there has been a 20% rise of non-accidental- injuries and deaths to babies during the first Covid 19 lockdown

Julia Shaikh
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During the first lockdown due to Covid-19  in March 2020, there was an alarming rise of 20% of accidental injuries in children under 12 months old. According to Ofsted, these children were either seriously injured or killed by a parent/carer. In...

Remote Hearings in the Family Justice System: A review of the Rapid Consultation by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.

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It goes without saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact in virtually every aspect of our lives.  Arguably, one of the most significant changes for us at Johnson Astills, and for our clients, is that court hearings for Family and...

Can my information be shared between my Care Proceedings and Criminal Proceedings?

Chelsea  Harris
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The simple answer is yes. Your information can be disclosed and shared between proceedings governed by the 2013 protocol and good practice model . In Care Proceedings, there is a form Annex D that the Local Authority will complete and send to the police to...

How am I meant to engage and follow a remote / hybrid Family Court hearing?

Jasmine Lees
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, Family Court hearings moved to remote hearings which take place over the telephone or via a video platform to allow for social distancing restrictions. Initially, all major hearings such as final...

The impact Covid19 (Coronavirus) and contact with children in care?

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Legal practitioners in the field of childcare law will be aware that Covid-19 epidemic has significantly challenged the family justice system. This article covers the issues around contact with a child in care and the legal principles, which govern it. The...

What Happens in Care Proceedings?

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Care Proceedings begin when the Local Authority believe that your children have suffered or may be at risk of harm. The Local Authority will ask the Court to look at your situation and decide if the Local Authority should be granted a legal Order to...

More Family Court Cases to be Reported

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The President of the Family Division has issued guidance on Transparency in Family Courts published on 16/1/14 to ‘immediately and significantly’ change the way cases are reported. There have been criticisms that the family courts are too secret...

New Changes to s.38 (6) assessments and the creation of s.38 (7A) and (7B) test.

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The President, Sir J Munby has issued new guidance in relation to s.38(6) assessments and the recent decisions and indications relating to the reforms are important in gaining an understanding as to their implementation and practical effect in the cases...

Get help from Social Services with your housing

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Social services may have to help if you are homeless and you come under one of the following criteria; you are under 18 you are leaving care or you’re under 21 and have previously been in care you are an elderly person you have physical or mental...

Opposing an Adoption Order

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Adoption applications are made for children by prospective adopters after care proceedings. Birth parents think this is the “be all and end all” for their children and they cannot oppose an adoption application. This is not the case. Once a...

When are Parents eligible for Legal Aid in Children Act cases?

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In recent months, many parents have found themselves in a position where they have been denied legal aid. In the recent case of D (A Child) [2014] EWFC 39, Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division said that there are only certain proceedings...

January 2012 - Highest number of Care Order applications recorded

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CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services) reported last week that in the month of January 2012 Local Authorities in the UK have made 903 applications to the court for Care Orders in relation to children who they believe to be at risk...

Child Exploitation

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The national action plan for tackling child sexual exploitation, published on 23 November 2011, brings together for the first time actions by the Government and a range of national and local partners to protect children from this largely hidden form of...

Children and young people being given a chance to express their views on the Family Justice System

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The law relating to children is contained primarily in The Children Act 1989 which came into force on 14 th  October 1991. The Act introduced dramatic changes in the law relating to children in that public law (matters with social services involvement)...

Important Cases in Child Care Proceedings

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Recent cases in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have looked at the way the issue of non-consensual adoption should be considered by the Courts. The first of these important judgments was given in Re B. (Re B (A Child) [2013] UKSC 33) The Supreme...

Are Local Authority Children's Services meeting the needs of families and their children?

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Ofsted released their first Social Care Annual Report for 2012/13 on the 15th October 2013 which identified that 1 in 7 Local Authorities has been reported to be ‘inadequate’ and some child safeguarding services are struggling to meet even...

President of the Family Courts calls for more transparency in family courts

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Given the need to protect the children involved in family proceedings, hearings are held in private and journalists are not allowed in. Judgments can be publicised with names kept anonymous; it is the facts of the case the legal argument and the...