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Social Services are concerned about your child – what will they do?

If Social Services are involved with your family, you are not alone. According to recent news, there has been an increase in the number of Child Protection Plans being made by Social Services, especially in relation to unborn babies. So, what is a Child Protection Plan and why might one be made?

Social Services have a legal duty to protect children in their area. When they receive information suggesting a child may be at risk of harm they will carry out an investigation. ‘Harm’ can be physical, emotional or sexual and includes intentional or unintentional neglect.

If, following their investigation, Social Services think a child is at risk of harm, they will hold a Child Protection Conference. Parents and other people involved in the child’s life, such as health visitors and teachers, will be invited to attend. The conference will decide if the child is at risk of harm, and if so a Child Protection Plan will be made.

The purpose of the plan is to 

  • keep the child safe and prevent further harm
  • promote the child’s welfare 
  • support the child’s family to care for them, if this is in the child’s best interests and can be done safely

Regular meetings will take place throughout the duration of the plan to monitor progress and any changes. The plan will be discontinued when the child is considered no longer to be at risk of harm.

If Social Services think the risk of harm to the child is too great and the child shouldn’t be at home, they will consider starting Court proceedings so they can take the child into care.

Here at David Gray Solicitors, we understand how worrying and stressful it can be to have Social Services involved with your family. The thought of your child being taken into care is devastating. Our social services solicitors can help to guide you through the process and advise you how to achieve the best outcome for your children.

Mary Shaw, Elspeth Thomson, Lesley Monkhouse, Lucy Mead, Claire Hunter and Nicky Hunter are all members of the Law Society’s Children Panel.

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