You will meet different people depending on how children’s services are working with you and how worried they are about your children. Our solicitors help parents understand the process every day and can explain to you what will happen and who will be involved with your family.
At the beginning if you’re child is a “Child in Need” or is subject to a “Child Protection Plan” then you might meet the following people:
Family support worker: Family support workers assist families that are having problems and visit regularly to offer practical help and support, the work they do can be flexible depending on what support the family need. They work alongside social workers and keep notes of the work they have done and how parents have responded.
Social worker: A children’s services social worker is a person who has completed social work qualifications and has had training. The social worker is assigned to the children, not the parents.
This can sometimes be difficult for parents to understand as the work the social worker will be doing will be mainly with the parents. The social worker is put in place to make sure that children are safe and well cared for by their own family. The social worker will work with the family to try and solve any issues but if they think that the situation is serious, or not improving, then they will also recommend that children are removed from their parents’ care. The social worker keeps careful notes of what is said and done and will turn these into reports, you might hear it called a social workers evidence template, if court proceedings are issued.
Social work team manager: More senior social workers can become team managers. They support and supervise the social workers who are in their team to ensure that they are doing their job properly and can help if things become more complicated. They will sometimes go and see parents with a social worker on home visits and can also be present at meetings and at court.
If social services involvement with your children becomes more serious and the local authority start pre-proceedings meetings or issue an application to court for a care or supervision order you will also meet the following:
Local authority solicitor: the local authority have a team of solicitors to give the social worker’s legal advice in the same way that you can have a solicitor to give you advice. The local authority’s clients are the social workers.
The local authority solicitor is a person who was trained and qualified in the law in the same way as our team of care solicitors have. They will attend pre-proceedings meetings in the same way you can have a solicitor with you at PLO meetings and will also represent the local authority in court proceedings.
If the situation becomes so serious that the local authority issue care proceedings it is the local authority lawyer that will prepare the application to court and represent the local authority by telling the judge what the local authority are asking the Judge to do.