Local Authorities have duties to investigate circumstances when a child in its area may be suffering harm through neglect or abuse. If it suspects that this may be the case, it can take actions including:
- Holding a child protection conference and establishing a “child protection plan” of actions for individuals and professionals to take, to help keep a child safe and address any concerns.
- Bringing proceedings before the court (“care proceedings”) in order for decisions to be made about whether the child has suffered or is likely to suffer harm, and what the arrangements for the child’s care and contact should be.
Our public law team offer advice and representation throughout the processes, which may include:
- Initial assessments (“s.17 assessments and s.47 enquiries”).
- Advice and representation through child protection enquiries (including attendance at child protection conferences).
- Advice and representation in circumstances where a Local Authority is considering bringing court proceedings (where a Local Authority has issued a ‘letter before proceedings’ or ‘PLO letter’).
- Advice and representation in court proceedings in the Family Court and High Court, such as care proceedings, applications for emergency protection orders, recovery orders or secure accommodation orders.
Examples of when advice and representation may be needed include:
- When you are a parent of the child.
- When you are a child’s relative or a family friend who either is caring for, or has been asked to care for a child.
- When you have been invited to ‘intervene’ in proceedings.
Whatever the processes you are confronting, and however daunting they may be, our team of family solicitors are committed to providing the support to help get you through.