If a Local Authority wishes to remove a child from birth, as good practice they must follow certain procedures:
- The birth plan must be strictly followed by all Social Workers, their managers, and the Local Authority’s legal department.
- A Risk Assessment of the parents should be carried out as soon as the Social Worker is aware of the pregnancy, and be completed at least 4 weeks prior to the birth.
- The Risk Assessment should be disclosed to the parents as well as their solicitors. This is so we as solicitors can challenge the results of the assessment along with any additional Care Plans before getting to Court.
- The Local Authority’s legal department must share all relevant documentation necessary for them to issue proceedings (take the case to Court) to the parents and their solicitors at least 7 days before the mother’s due date.
- As soon as proceedings have been issued, the Local Authority must seek a date from the Court for an Interim Care Order Hearing, and then immediately inform the parents and their solicitors when it is to take place.
If the Local Authority takes these steps, then procedural unfairness can be avoided. Too often, the Local Authority will serve documents on parents only days before the Interim Care Order Hearing is to take place when they have known about the pregnancy for weeks and months.
If you are aware that the Local Authority wishes to remove your child after birth and they have not followed these steps, give Bretherton Law a call. Our dedicated childcare solicitors will ensure that your rights as a parent are fully represented at Court and throughout proceedings.