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

View profile for 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 Authority will usually have received safeguarding referrals from individuals or professional agencies which have alerted them to concerns or they may be basing these concerns on historic data that is kept on their databases.

What assessments may I be asked to engage with?

The Local Authority may ask a person who they deem to be a concern to engage in a number of assessments to include:

  • Risk Assessments
  • Parenting Assessments
  • Cognitive Assessments
  • Psychological Assessments (to include ability of the remaining adult’s ability to protect)
  • Psychiatric Assessments
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing

Here at Johnson Astills, we always encourage families to work openly and honestly with the Local Authority and to engage in assessments commissioned by the Local Authority to reduce the concerns held by them. However, there are some assessments which are proposed by the Local Authority such as Psychological or Psychiatric Assessments which a person should seek legal advice regarding before agreeing to and you should contact us here at Johnson Astills for advice before agreeing to engage in this process.

Do I have to leave the family home if I am asked to?

A recent report by the The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman[1] detailed the Local Authoritys duties when asking a parent to leave the family home and reminded the Local Authority of the need to tell the person that any agreement was voluntary. Michael King of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman went onto say Councils have a duty to safeguard children when allegations are made that they are at risk of harm, but they cannot insist on a parent leaving the family home without first gaining their voluntary consent.”

The Ombudsman went on to say that the Local Authority should provide parents with all the information they need to make an informed decision and to keep a record of any agreements which are made.

Many people refuse to leave the family home to allow for these assessments to take place but this risks the Local Authority becoming more concerned about the safety of the children within the home and the Local Authority may initiate care proceedings with the Court seeking protective orders to safeguard the children. This may also mean they will question the ability of the remaining adults within the home and their ability to protect the children.

What are the alternatives to leaving the family home?

There are a number of alternatives which the Local Authority may ask for you and your partner to comply with to ensure the children are protected so that you do not have to leave the family home. Ultimately this will depend on the level of risk they believe you to pose and if this can be managed by other means. These alternatives may include adhering to a reasonably worded safety plan/written agreement which is supported by your family network who can offer support by dropping in or any care of the child being supervised by another safe adult.

If you are asked to sign a safety plan/written agreement, you should be given the opportunity to seek legal advice if requested before signing  and you are encouraged to get in touch with us here at Johnson Astills so we can provide you with this advice.

How Johnson Astills can help

We understand that if you have been asked to leave your family home, that this will be a very stressful time for you and we are here to help and provide advice. We have experience in assisting parents at all stages of Local Authority involvement. Please contact Johnson Astills at either our Leicester Office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509 610 312 and ask for a member of the Care Team so that we can advise you accordingly. Alternatively, please email us on careteam@johnsonastills.com and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.