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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 your child the necessary medical treatment, or made sure your child is properly supervised, or if your home conditions have not been maintained to an appropriate standard. Many reasons can lead to the Local Authority getting involved in your family life.

It is likely to be extremely worrying if you receive a letter from children’s social services. Depending on what letter you have received, we can help at Johnson Astills . All Local Authority letters need attention and action. You must not ignore a letter from the Local Authority when concerning children. You should seek immediate legal advice in order to ascertain exactly what course of action it is that the Local Authority are intending to take.

The Local Authority will initially write to you and ask you to attend a meeting. However, as there are different types meetings, the Local Authority will be very clear as to which meeting they are holding in respect of your child, as each meeting differs, and the legal advice you receive will differ depending on the course of action taken.

There are many different levels of intervention from the Local Authority:  

  • Child in Need plan - at this stage you do not need legal representation and involvement is very limited from the Local Authority and concerns are on a low level.
  • Child Protection Conference, at this stage you will be required to attend a meeting and will need legal assistance. A child Protection Conference is a meeting that takes place between family members (where appropriate), and professionals involved with the family about a child’s future safety, health and development. The purpose of this meeting is to outline the concerns and decide what future action should take place to keep the child safe. In a Child Protection Conference, it is decided whether or not a child protection plan should be drawn. A child protection plan is a plan drawn up by the Local Authority. It sets out how the child can be kept safe, how things can be made better for the family and what support they will need. A child protection plan operates under section 47 of the Children Act 1989. This plan can be in place for 2 years.
  • Pre Proceedings meeting. This type of meeting also requires Legal advice. Please click here to see the article on PLO/Pre Proceedings.

Whether you have received an Initial Child Protection Conference letter or a Pre Proceedings letter from the Local Authority we can help at Johnson Astills.

For funding please click here to see the article

At Johnson Astills Solicitors we can offer advice, assistance and representation at all stages of the Local Authority involvement. Should you require our assistance then please visit our website, email us at careteam@johnsonastills.com or call us at either our Leicester Office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509 610312 and ask for a member of our Care Team.