The mission of the Department of Social Services is to safeguard the well-being of youngsters and vulnerable people. Its goal is to assist children, vulnerable individuals, and their families during difficulties for them to avoid harm or maltreatment.
The prospect of Social Services involvement with their child might be frightening for some parents, but this isn’t always the case. There are various reasons why Social Services may get involved with your kid, and it doesn’t always imply that he or she will be placed in care.
If Social Services is involved with you, you must get legal counsel so that you know why legal action was taken and what your options are for yourself and your kid.
Do I have to allow social services workers to speak with my children?
It is not required to allow a social worker into your property if there is no court order compelling it or if your child is in the care of Social Services. If you don’t co-operate and let Social Services investigate, they may conclude that you’re hiding something and aren’t being entirely truthful with them.
Does a social worker have the power to take my child away from me?
Without the court’s permission, however, if a child is in immediate danger, the local authority will contact the police who will assess whether the youngster should be protected. The police can take a kid from his or her parents for up to 72 hours if this is the case.
Alternatively, the local authority must request an emergency protection order or an interim care order. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the court will only grant the order if the parents are informed of the application and have a chance to appear in court to defend their rights.
What is a child protection conference, and why has it been called?
If a youngster is in danger or need of assistance, the local authority will hold a strategy meeting to determine what measures must be taken to investigate the issue. A section 47 enquiry is held when a child’s well-being or safety appears to be at risk.
The conference is a gathering of the child’s parents and other key professionals in which they evaluate if the issues are severe enough to merit putting the kid on the child protection register.
What is a pre-proceedings meeting, or PLO?
The method by which local authorities respond to children in need of protection is outlined in a PLO/Pre-Proceedings meeting, also known as a Public Law Outline (PLO). In these situations, the local authority must inquire whether a court order is necessary to safeguard the kid. The family is informed that the local authority has enough evidence to take the case to court, however, this option is only used as a last resort, giving them one final chance to reach an agreement with Social Services before going to court.
The local authority will present its concerns during the meeting, including a contract of expectations that outlines the steps and actions it wants the family to take to avoid court action, as well as timetable requirements. The contract will also include an evaluation of parents and any other family members who can care for the kid if their parents are unable to do so.
I’ve received a PLO letter, what should I do?
A PLO letter is your invitation to a PLO/pre-proceedings meeting, which you should go to. Before the meeting, set up a visit with one of our child care litigation solicitors to discuss your issue. There’s automatic, non-means and non-merits tested legal assistance available if a PLO letter has been delivered, so you can get legal help and advice. When you call us, we may talk about it further.
I’ve been asked to sign a section 20 agreement, what should I do?
The authorities are required by Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 to provide housing for a youngster in certain situations, such as when a parent is no longer able to give suitable accommodation or care. This is frequently employed by social services as an alternative to obtaining a court order.
You can’t be forced to sign a section 20 agreement, and you may withdraw your consent at any time. However, if the local government is looking for a section 20 agreement, and you do not agree, it may request the court for an order. You must contact us as soon as possible if you’ve been requested to sign a section 20 agreement so that we may discuss your circumstances and see whether you qualify for public funding.