A social services Section 37 report refers to a specific type of report prepared by social services typically in the context of child welfare proceedings.
In England and Wales, Section 37 of the Children Act 1989 empowers the Court to request a report from social services regarding a child or family involved in court proceedings. This report aims to provide the court with a comprehensive assessment of the child’s welfare and the circumstances surrounding their care. Specifically the court needs to know if the child is safe.
The content of a Section 37 report typically includes:
- Background information: The report may contain details about the child’s family, living situation and any previous involvement with social services.
- Assessment of the child’s welfare: Social workers will assess the child’s physical, emotional, and educational well-being. They may consider factors such as the child’s relationship with parents, siblings and other important individuals in their life.
- Parental capacity assessment: The report may evaluate a parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs including their parenting skills, understanding of the child’s developmental needs and any concerns or risks that may impact the child’s safety or well-being.
- Analysis of risks and protective factors: Social workers will assess any risks or concerns that may affect the child’s safety such as domestic violence, substance abuse, neglect, abuse, mental health or psychological issues. They will also identify any protective factors within the family or broader support network.
- Recommendations: Based on their assessment, social workers will provide recommendations to the court which may include suggestions for interventions, support services or further assessments. These recommendations aim to inform the court’s decision-making process regarding the child’s welfare and any necessary interventions.
It’s important to note that the specific structure and content of a Section 37 report may vary depending on guidelines and the practices of the local social services team involved.
If you and your family are being investigated by children’s social services and you need Legal Advice then please do get in touch either by calling the number above (9am – 5pm Monday – Friday) or by requesting a callback using the form at the bottom of this page. The first call is always free of charge and we can advise you if you are likely to be eligible for Legal Aid. It’s important to take advice early so you can understand the process and try and achieve the best outcome.