Social workers in Children’s Services have an unenviable job.
They have a duty to safeguard children, and must on a daily basis assess risk. If they get it wrong, and underestimate the level of risk posed by a child’s family or “friends”, there can be tragic consequences. They can also be criticised for moving in too quickly to seek to remove a child.
Many parents find the involvement of social services with their family daunting and often feel the best way to deal with this is by ‘shutting the professionals out’. However sometimes this only increases the concerns of the social workers, which in turn can lead to relationships breaking down and court proceedings being issued.
Hertfordshire County Council have been operating a new approach to safeguarding over recent months, bringing in linked professionals in mental health and psychology, drug and alcohol abuse support and domestic violence.
It is essential for parents and relatives to seek legal advice at the outset, from solicitors who specialise in this complex area of law. Seeking legal advice early can help enormously.
Many parents are unaware of their rights, such as being accompanied by a solicitor at a Child Protection Meeting for support, or being able to withdraw consent after signing a section 20 agreement where a child has been placed in “voluntary” care.
As a parent you have every right to challenge the local authority’s decisions, both before and within court proceedings. At Bretherton Law we have a specialist team of expert solicitors who are ready to assist and guide you through this difficult time.
Free Legal Aid may well be available – just ask.
Please contact Sandra Bradley at 01727 869293 or us the contact form below.