Family, Child & Care Proceedings

Child Care & Social Services Solicitors

If social services are getting involved in your family, speak to us for advice. Our child care solicitors help parents and family members through these hard times.

Being contacted by social services is frightening and stressful. Social workers’ jobs aren’t just to take children away from their families, but it can feel that way when it’s your child. Social services also use a lot of odd, formal language, such as ‘child in need’, ‘letter before proceedings’ and ‘supervision’ which can be confusing.

We are here to be on your side. We can explain and demystify the legal jargon, speak to social services for you, and provide advice about your options.

In many cases, you don’t have to go to court. But, if you do, we’ll be there to support and represent you. We’ll make sure that your point of view is heard.

We are often able to accept clients on a legal aid basis which means you may not have to pay some or all of your legal fees. We can advise on how you can access legal aid funding and make the application.

Speak to our child care & social services solicitors

We have offices across Rhondda Cynon Taff in BridgendPontypriddTalbot GreenTonypandyTreorchy and Tylorstown, where you can come and meet us to discuss your matter. We’re also happy to speak to you in any way convenient to you, including using video link software.

So, if you are going through a difficult time in your life, then please get in touch with us today for compassionate and cost-effective advice for you and your family.

Why choose Devonalds for social services and child care advice?

We help families solve their problems and have years of experience representing parents and relatives in social services cases.

Our team are accredited by the Law Society in Children Law for our recognised skills in this area. We can advise parents and represent children’s interests during legal proceedings, and you can trust us to have the right knowledge for your case.

Meet our Family, Child & Care Proceedings team.

How our social services & child care solicitors can help

Whatever issue you’re having with the social services department of your local authority, we are able to help. Some of the social services and child care proceedings we can assist with include:

Click the links above to find out more about how we can help.

Pre-proceedings

Social services start pre-proceedings if they are worried about a child. You’ll first be sent a ‘letter before proceedings’, which you should show to your solicitor for advice.

The goal of pre-proceedings is to sort out any problems without taking your child into care. You’ll be asked to attend a pre-proceedings meeting where you’ll work with social services to come up with a plan.

There’ll usually be a few more meetings to check on your progress. Usually, the whole process takes around six months, but it’s sometimes shorter or longer.

As your solicitor, we can attend pre-proceedings meetings with you and provide input on the plan.

Care orders

If pre-proceedings does not work, social services may decide to start care proceedings by going to Court.

You should contact us for advice as soon as possible if you receive a letter informing you that court proceedings have been started.

There are two types of court order, which can place your child under local authority care:

  • Interim care order – this is a temporary care order that social services may ask for while the court proceedings are ongoing.
  • Final care order – this is the final order. This means that the local authority gets parental responsibility for your child and can make decisions about things like where they live.

We can support you during child care proceedings, including speaking to social services and responding to court proceedings. We can also come with you to court hearings to represent you and provide advice.

Supervision orders

A supervision order requires social services to advise, assist and befriend your child to make sure they are being properly cared for.

Supervision orders usually last one year but may be extended each year up to a maximum of three years.

Emergency protection orders

An emergency protection order is a court order made to protect a child from a risk of imminent physical, mental or emotional harm.

These types of orders usually only last for a short while – up to eight days – but they are very serious.

You don’t get much warning if social services have applied for an emergency protection order, so get in touch with us for advice as soon as you think the process has started. Legal aid is usually automatically available to fund your legal costs.

Placement orders

A placement order is one of the most serious types of court order that social services can get. They will apply for a placement order if they want to place your child for adoption.

As the birth parents, you deserve to have the strongest possible legal support during placement proceedings. We can be by your side during this time, ensuring that social services follow the correct legal process and that your rights and feelings are heard.

Adoption orders

In most adoption cases, the birth parents need to provide their consent before their child can be adopted.

There’s a long legal process before a judge will make a final adoption order.

We can support you from start-to-finish, helping you challenge the adoption proceedings where possible and promoting your wishes and viewpoint. Adoption orders are only made if it’s in the best interests of the child, and in many cases, it is best for them to stay in contact with their birth parents.

Special guardianship

A special guardianship order is often made where a child cannot live with their birth parents,

Special guardians are usually family members or foster carers of the child. Social services will usually be involved in the process and will provide their view on whether they think the proposed special guardians are suitable.

We advise birth parents and people who want to become special guardians about this process. We can assist with special guardianship order applications and advise on applications to vary or discharge a special guardianship order.

Child protection

Our child protection solicitors can advise on safeguarding and child protection legal matters, including:

  • Family law matters involving domestic abuse
  • Care proceedings involving serious child protection concerns
  • Child protection conferences
  • Contact with children in care
  • Emergency protection orders
  • Secure accommodation orders

Family legal aid for child care and social services matters

You can usually get legal aid when social services get involved in your family to help to pay for the costs of your legal advice and representation.

If your child is subject to care proceedings, you usually don’t need to go through financial means-testing – you can automatically get legal aid.

If you are the child’s birth parents, you will likely be eligible for legal aid.

If you’re not sure whether you have parental responsibility or whether you can get legal aid, get in touch with us, and we’ll be happy to provide advice.

Speak to our child care & social services solicitors

We have offices across Rhondda Cynon Taff in BridgendPontypriddTalbot GreenTonypandyTreorchy and Tylorstown, where you can come and meet us to discuss your matter. We’re also happy to speak to you in any way convenient to you, including using video link software.

So, if you are going through a difficult time in your life, then please get in touch with us today for compassionate and cost-effective advice for you and your family.