Children & social services
The role of social services is to make sure that the welfare and safety of vulnerable children are protected and promoted. They have certain legal duties which mean that, if they have concerns about the safety and wellbeing of a child, they must investigate to see if there is any support a family might need.
If social services have serious concerns about the safety and wellbeing of a child, they might first issue a Public Law Outline or PLO letter. The parent will be invited to a meeting and will be advised to bring a lawyer with them. We can attend these meetings free of charge because legal aid is available, regardless of the parent’s financial circumstances.
Social services might also ask a parent to agree to that child being placed somewhere else to live under what is called a Section 20 agreement. The local authority must make sure that a parent fully understands what they are agreeing to and why, and must never force a parent to sign a Section 20 agreement. A parent should seek legal advice before signing this sort of agreement, and legal aid may be available for this.
Ultimately, social services may decide to take the matter to Court. This is referred to as care proceedings, further details can be found here.