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Child Care Videos

Care Proceedings


Script for the above Video

This is when Children’s Services previously known as social services are involved with families as a result of concerns they have in relation to the children.  


Children’s services have a legal duty to investigate information that is brought to their attention about a child who has been or likely to be exposed to ‘significant harm’.


Depending on the level of significant harm children’s services may issue court proceedings or convene a child protection meeting or a pre Proceedings meeting, this can be scary for most families and this is where we can help you.  Here at Duncan Lewis there are over 35 Children Panel Members.  We are all specialist solicitors who deal with this area of law on a daily basis.  We will take your matter on and advise and support you throughout this complex process.  We will also represent you at meetings and hearings and we will endeavour to do so throughout the process.  We recognise the importance of you having someone with you who you trust and supports you – this is us here at Duncan Lewis.


We will explain to you what a child protection conference is or if you have been given a letter which is titled letter before proceedings you will need very prompt advice from us – it is important that you take action now and call us.  Please do not ignore this letter because there are steps you can take at this early stage to prevent Children’s services from issuing legal proceedings.


If children’s services feel that they have tried to address their concerns with you and no improvement is made they can ask you to agree to voluntary accommodation (s.20) –.  Again this is a major decision and you may feel that you don’t have a choice and that you need to agree to your child being placed with a family member or with a foster carer – this is not true.


After a period of time Children’s services may decide to return your child to you or they will serve you with a letter of issue, this means that children’s services feel they require the assistance of the court by way of a court order to enable them to obtain Parental Responsibility so that they can make decisions for your child in accordance with your child’s best interest. Children’s services will seek to persuade the court that you are not able to address their concerns and haven’t sustained change and that they feel that your child should be removed from your care immediately.  If the court agrees there are a number of orders and options available to the court. 


The court’s aim is to conclude the proceedings within 26 weeks of issue.  This means that a permanent decision regarding your child’s future will be determined within this period.  This will be explained more fully if you seek the advice of one of our children panel members.


Sometimes the above procedure is bypassed where there is a risk that the child’s safety may be compromised. The police are normally the first ones to be alerted where a child is at risk and the police have a right to exercise Police Protection and can remove a child without an order of the court.  If this has happened – call us and we will help you.


It is important for you to know that these types of proceedings are fully funded by the state and therefore you are not required to pay if you are a parent or someone with Parental Responsibility for the subject child.


At Duncan Lewis we understand that there can be nothing more important to you other than your children. 


To speak to one of our experienced lawyers please call on 0207 923 4020 or visit us at: www.duncanlewis.com.  We look forward to hearing from you


Call us now on 033 3772 0409 or click here to send online enquiry.
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