Social Services

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What happens in care proceedings?

If the local authorities (social services) become concerned about the welfare of your child, they may ask you attend a Meeting Before Action. If you receive a letter from social services advising you that you need to attend such a meeting, you should access legal representation immediately.

Dependent on the circumstances, social services may decide to bring a court case. This generally includes applying for an interim care order, where a child can be taken into care on a temporary basis for up to eight weeks. This may only be made if the court is of the view that the child is at risk of harm. This process can be lengthy, so we work to prepare you for all outcomes.

At Brighton & Hove Law, we can offer expert, non-judgmental advice in what is undoubtably a stressful and highly complex situation. It is highly important that you have a specialist to help you through the process, reduce the stress of the situation and ensure the best possible outcome for your family. We are highly experienced in representing clients in cases concerning social services, so can assist you through this process with care and sensitivity. Please contact us if you have any questions, as this can be complex and we will be able to clarify the proceedings for you.

When can the local authorities make an application to take children into care?

This will be if there is concern for the welfare of your child. The circumstances that may trigger such an application will generally include concerns about neglect, or concerns that the child is being abused. We can guide you through the process of what social services are concerned about, and explain what may constitute neglect or abuse.

Do I qualify for legal aid?

If you have been asked to attend a Meeting Before Action with social services, you will qualify for legal aid automatically. Equally, if you have children who are the subject of care proceedings issued at court, you will also qualify for legal aid. If you are the grandparent or other family member, you may qualify for legal aid. For more information on legal aid, see our website or contact us to discuss your options.

What may be the outcome of care proceedings?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, and what the court finds, there are a number of potential outcomes that you may witness at the conclusion of care proceedings. This can range from the child being sent home with the parent if the risk is reduced, to the child living in a children’s home or being fostered or adopted. Please contact us if you are involved with social services so we can assist you through the process, or if you have any questions.

Client Testimonials

Lucy has the rare quality of combining compassion and understanding with excellent knowledge and professionalism. She always made sure I understood what were sometimes difficult legal processes and she was realistic about time-frames and risks. Lucy manages to calm difficult situations and we got the best result possible. I hope I won’t need her services again but have already recommended her to a colleague.

Ms C

It is a breath of fresh air to encounter such a dedicated and experienced Family Law Team at Brighton and Hove Law who service a broad spectrum of family work, especially supporting and advising parents whose children are subject to public law proceedings. Their dedication to clients who require special care, support and protection is unrivalled. As part of that team, Samantha Barker shows a real depth of experience and knowledge of family law and will pursue cases boldly and vigorously often achieving positive results which at the outset looked very unlikely.

Mark Love, Head of Chambers

Sarah Dummett and Ellie Chapman provide a first class, client focused service. Their advice and approach is accessible while robust.

Ayisha Robertson, Barrister

Dear Sarah, I would like to say a massive thank you to you for all your help and support, you have made handling my matter so much easier and I would highly recommend you and Brighton and Hove Law to a friend or family. Thank you so much once again, I wish you all the best for the future too.

Mr R

Thank you very much for your help, you were fantastic, and I really appreciate how you have handled matters in such a professional and quick manner

Mr G

Thank you very much, I know I keep saying this but you have been absolutely fantastic with all your help, advice, support and energy. Thank you very much Michelle.

Mr S

Thanks very much for all your sterling help through what has been a horrible time.

Mrs M  –  Brighton 

Jennifer Lynch is astute, efficient and very effective. She builds up a good rapport with her clients and can be relied on to deliver in every case.

Gerardine Buckley, Barrister

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