At Bakers we believe that children are better brought up by their family and everything possible should be done to ensure that this can be achieved.
Parents who have their children taken into care are entitled to free legal representation and we encourage you to contact us as soon as social services become involved with your family. Early and expert legal advice could prevent the need for legal proceedings.
PLO Meetings, Care Orders & Children in Care
When the Local Authority raise concerns about the care of your children, or your children are taken into care we understand how stressful and upsetting this can be for parents. We understand that when dealing with your children’s future, you will require expert legal advice but also a solicitor who will be sympathetic to what you are going through and be supportive throughout the proceedings.
Expert legal advice and representation when Social Services are involved in your family is essential. We have experience of representing parents, grandparents and children in such court proceedings.
Local Authorities have a duty to ensure that children are safe. If they have any concerns then they may intervene and seek to remove children from the care of parents. Our highly experienced team will assist you in all dealings with Social Services.
Parents will often be frustrated by Local Authorities and feel let down by them; we understand this and will assist you to ensure that you are properly represented by experts in the field.
The following are common court applications that are made by social services:
Emergency Protection Order
Such an order is applied for only when it is considered that a child is at immediate risk of harm. An Emergency Protection Order gives the Local Authority Parental Responsibility but initially this order can only be granted for a period of 8 days. Representation at a hearing when an application for an Emergency Protection Order is applied for is essential.
Such an order provides the Local Authority with parental responsibility for a child. The parents who have parental responsibility will retain this but the Local Authority’s parental responsibility will override the parent’s and therefore they are able to make decisions in respect of the child. This can include where the children will live and will go to school. This Order will last until the child reaches the age of 18. The court is also able to grant Care Orders on an interim basis and they are often applied for if Social Services want children to be removed from the care of parents pending assessments. Representation in any such application is essential.
Such an order places an obligation on the Local Authority to provide advice and assistance to the main carer of the child. It does not give the Local Authority Parental Responsibility. This will be for a defined length of time, usually 12 months.
This is an order which gives the Local Authority permission to place a child for adoption and this does not require the parents’ consent. Such orders are often applied for alongside Care Orders if the Local Authority intend to place a child for adoption.
Special Guardianship Order
This is an order where somebody other than the parents take responsibility for caring for the child until the age of 18. A Special Guardianship Order provides Parental Responsibility which they share with the parents but the Special Guardian is able to use their Parental Responsibility to make overriding decisions. Special Guardianship Orders are often applied for by grandparents and other family members when parents are unable to provide children with the care required. There are complex rules relating to Special Guardianship Orders including the provision of support services such as financial payments by the local authority. This means that expert legal advice is an absolute must.
We are also able to offer advice and assistance to all family members such as grandparents who may seek care of grandchildren as an alternative to being placed in foster care.
David Parkes is a member of The Law Society’s Children Panel. This is a recognition of David’s ability to represent parents, children and other family members in proceedings that fall under the Children Act 1989. Please feel free to contact David directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.