Can social services take my child away?
Children’s Services can apply to court to have your child removed if they have concerns about their welfare. It is very important to work with your social worker to understand why they have these concerns. We can work with you to help understand these concerns and prevent the court from making an order to remove your child.
My child’s social worker wants to take me to court, what can I do?
Unless there is an emergency affecting your child’s safety, Children’s Services will want to work with you to prevent taking the case to court straight away. We can offer advice about this process. If concerns increase and there is a pre-proceedings meeting organised we are able to offer you legal aid to assist further.
My older children are in care and I’m pregnant, will my baby go into care?
Every case is different and social workers must consider each case on its merits. However, if you have previously had children removed from your care, social workers will be concerned and will want to assess your ability to care for your unborn child. They may determine that the child needs to be removed or they may decide it is safe for you to take the baby home. There are lots of options available. If you would like further information about this process, please contact us.
Can I get legal aid?
We are able to offer you legal aid when there are serious concerns about the welfare of your children. Please get in touch to discuss this more.
How much will it cost me?
It is possible for some cases involving children’s services to be funded through legal aid. Lots of other cases involving disputes between separated parents do not have any legal aid available. We offer a competitive, fixed fee interview which will help give you an understanding of your options and the likely costs if you decide to instruct us going forward.
Who are CAFCASS and how are they involved in my case?
CAFCASS stands for Children and Family Court Advisory Support Services. CAFCASS look after the interests of children involved in family court proceedings. The main types of cases in which the court ask CAFCASS to help are where parents and carers are separating or divorcing and have not reached agreement about arrangements for the children. When an application is first made to court, CAFCASS may contact you to carry out safeguarding checks. If the case becomes more complicated, a CAFCASS officer may be appointed to undertake a report on you and your family before making a recommendation to the court as to what orders are appropriate.
What is the role of the Children’s Guardian?
In care proceedings, the court will usually appoint a guardian for the child concerned. The guardian will be an independent professional from CAFCASS and will advise the court on the child’s best interests. The guardian is crucial in helping the court to understand the child’s wishes and to be their voice in proceedings.
I have been contacted by a mediation service, what should I do?
If you are having a dispute with your ex-partner about what arrangements should be made for your children following your separation, a family mediation service may contact you to see if you are willing to discuss matters to try to reach an agreement without the need for a court order. Lots of people find mediation very useful but it is not always appropriate in every case.