Children & Social Services
Legal aid is not generally available for certain family law matters such as divorce, legal separation, matrimonial finance or children matters, although in certain circumstances, legal aid is still available for these matters. Our family law solicitors are able to advise and represent you within these areas of law.
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We can help support you with various issues around children and social services, including;
There are many reasons why Social Services “The Local Authority” could become involved with your family.
The Local Authority has a duty of care within the Law to provide support and assistance to any child in their area, where there is an identified need. This is not always something to worry about and will often be a source of vital support and assistance to a family during an otherwise difficult time.
The Local Authority receives information from a variety of sources. This can be from anonymous persons, concerned family members or friends or even other professionals, i.e. Schools, Health Services, the Police etc. The information received can sometimes be so serious that emergency investigations or actions have to be taken to protect the child(ren). In other cases a slower pattern of growing concern, over a longer period of time causes the Local Authority to take action.
The type of information received by the Local Authority will determine the steps taken in relation to your child(ren). If the concerns are extremely serious, for example, a child is injured and the explanation of how that injury happened cannot be given, the Local Authority may issue court proceedings immediately. These proceedings could be either Care Order or Supervision Order proceedings or Emergency Protection Order proceedings.
In less serious cases, the Local Authority may start a Public Law Outline Pre-Proceedings Process (PLO process). This is where the Local Authority will invite Parents to specially arranged meetings to discuss with them the concerns the Local Authority has and try to work together with the Parent/s to resolve these concerns. This process is the final available step which the Local Authority takes before it makes an application to the Court for a Care Order or Supervision Order.
In any of the above situations, it is vital for parents to come to us for legal representation immediately. This will enable us to support you right from the start of either PLO or Court proceedings, to understand the process, provide you with legal advice on what options will be available to you throughout and explain and discuss with you the evidence that the Local Authority has regarding your child/ren. Our legal team will also help you put your case across, either in the PLO meetings and/or will speak on your behalf to the Judge (if Court proceedings are commenced by the Local Authority).
Contact us and speak to an experienced member of our Family Law team on 033 33 582 588.
For information about Legal Aid services, visit our Legal Aid page.