Care Proceedings and Social Services Involvement with Children

  • Are Social Services expressing concern about your child’s safety?

  • Is your child a Child in Need or on a Child Protection Plan?

  • Have Social Services asked you to attend a PLO meeting?

  • Do Social Services want you to agree to your child going into temporary foster care?

  • Have Social Services issued Care Proceedings against you or applied for a Supervision Order?

  • Are you seeking the return of your child to your care?

  • Are you a family member who wants to care for the child?

  • Have Social Services applied for a Child Assessment Order or Secure Accommodation Order?

  • Do you want contact with your child who is in Care?

  • Do you want to consider applying to Discharge a Care Order?

  • Do you want to oppose the making of an Adoption Order relating to your child?

PLO or pre-proceedings meetings

If the Social workers are thinking about going to Court, the Public Law Outline requires the social workers to arrange a meeting with the parent(s) to see if it is possible to reach agreement about what needs to happen to protect the child from harm, so that Court proceedings can be avoided.

The hope is that the parents will come to the meeting with a Solicitor. Bradford Family Law will be able to attend with the parents to negotiate an agreement with the social services department to try to avoid the court proceedings. This formal meeting is often known as a ‘pre-proceedings meeting’ or ‘PLO meeting’.

In some cases the social workers may feel that the risk of harm to a child is so great, or the case is so urgent, that the case should go straight to court. In these cases no meeting takes place at all.

If you have been asked to go to a PLO or pre-proceedings meeting it is important that you seek urgent legal advice. If you are a parent or person with parental responsibility you will be entitled to legal aid and you will not have to pay for legal advice.

Bradford Family Law can advise you about how to deal with the meeting and we can come to the meeting with you in order to support you.

When social workers are concerned about the welfare of a child, they may be thinking about taking the case to Court so that they can ask the Court to make orders to protect the child.

Defending allegations of injury, abuse or neglect – children

Bradford Family Law have dealt with many very serious cases involving allegations of child abuse, neglect or injury.

Even if you are not a parent or relative of a child you may be accused of harming a child and social services may therefore take you to Court.

We have vast experience in defending allegations of injury and abuse in finding of fact hearings where parents, family members and others are accused of abuse/harm.

Legal Aid availability

Legal Aid is still available when the Local Authority is involved with your family. We can grant legal aid from the outset and in certain cases funding is non-means tested.

Make an appointment

Legal aid is automatically available for parents of a child or anyone with parental responsibility for a child where care proceedings have been issued by a Local authority or where notification has been given in writing that care proceedings are going to be issued (PLO Meeting).

In other circumstances, other family members, for example, grandparents, may be entitled to legal aid if they are eligible financially. If they want to join in the care proceedings and perhaps offer themselves as potential carers for a child, legal aid may be available to them subject to financial eligibility. If you are not eligible for Legal Aid we can discuss an affordable way for you to pay privately or, if applicable, arrange assisted funding with the Local Authority.