Fraser Hollands are a Family Law specialist and possess a wealth of experience in the area of Public Law Children Act matters, which include Care Proceedings and Child Protection issues. With reported cases in this area, our team provide a dedicated, knowledgeable and professional service to clients involved, with a compassionate and understanding approach.
Whatever the reason may be, there can be times when the Local Authority become involved within your family life. This could be due to an ongoing concern over drug or alcohol use, domestic abuse within the family, an unexplained injury to your child or that the Local Authority have concerns as to the standard of your home conditions.
Where the Local Authority become involved, they may register your child/children as Child in Need or place them on a Child Protection Plan (Register). The Local Authority may also initiate the Pre-Proceedings Protocol in which they will hold regular meetings with you and the professionals involved with your family to try and reduce whatever risks or concerns they have identified. In such circumstances, Fraser Hollands may be able to assist.
With a specialist team, we at Fraser Hollands can advise and assist you through this process. We can attend the Pre-Proceedings meetings alongside you to represent you and to ensure that your voice is being heard. If you are a parent or a person with parental responsibility you are likely to be entitled to Legal Aid.
If the concerns are more serious, the Local Authority may issue Court proceedings. Fraser Hollands have an experience and specialist team that can represent you within these Proceedings to include the following:
If the Local Authority’s concerns for the safety of your child/children are so serious that action needs to be taken immediately, they may make an application to the Court for an Emergency Protection Order, usually to be heard the same day. This is an Order that enables the Local Authority to remove your child/children from your care with immediate effect and remains in place for 7 days.
Either following the expiry of the Emergency Protection Order or where the concerns of the Local Authority remain serious, but do not justify an Order being made the same day, the Local Authority may apply to the Court for a Care Order. This is an Order that grants the Local Authority with Parental Responsibility for your child/children. It affords them the authority to remove your child/children from your care, whilst full assessments are undertaken to decide where the child/children should live in the long term. These proceedings are expected to last 26 weeks.
If the Local Authority have serious concerns for the safety and wellbeing for your child/children but do not at this stage believe it is necessary for them to be removed from your care, they may apply to the Court for a Supervision Order. This Order enables the Local Authority to allocate a Social Worker to befriend the family and to work with you to help improve the situation.
The Local Authority may seek a Placement Order for your child/children which is an Order permitting them to place your child/children for adoption.
If you have been named as a person who may have injured or harmed a child of your extended family, friend or partner, the Court may need to hold a Fact Finding Hearing. This is a Hearing in which the Court will consider all evidence and hear from all witnesses to determine who caused the injury/harm. If you have been joined as a party to the proceedings this usually means that you have been named as one of the persons who may be responsible for causing that harm. Therefore you may be required to prepare a Statement and attend Court to give evidence.
If you are a parent or a person with parental responsibility of one or more of the children involved within any of the above proceedings, you will be automatically entitled to legal aid, regardless of your financial position.
If you are named as an intervenor then you may still be entitled to legal aid subject to the Legal Aid Agency undertaking an assessment of your financial circumstances and the reason for your involvement within the proceedings.