Children, Social Services and Legal Aid – Your questions answered
Recently there’s been lots of news stories about social services removing children and placing them into foster care. How does this affect you and your family if this ever happens to you?
What Should I do?
If you or one of your family members are ever contacted by social care to state that they have concerns over a child in your family, it’s normal for this to cause anxiety and upset. The first thing to remember is to stay calm; there’s help out there for you.
Get Legal Advice
Seek legal advice as soon as possible, this will help you understand what’s happening and the reason for their concerns.
If you are a parent you may not be aware that you can receive free legal advice through the Legal Aid scheme – no matter what your income is. Professional legal advice will allow you to have a full understanding of the process, understand your options, as well as take some of the stress away and allow you to focus on your family.
What people are less aware of is that if you’re not a parent of a child whose been placed into foster care, you can still receive legal assistance and sometimes this will be free, depending on your income.
If it’s a member of your family whose child has been removed into foster care and you wish to care for the child, you should contact the social worker immediately and ask to be assessed. You’ll meet with the social worker and they’ll complete a viability assessment. If this is positive they’ll progress to a full assessment to consider placing the child in your care if they cannot be returned to the parent. If either assessment is negative you always have the right to challenge this outcome, and you should seek legal advice. Depending on your income you may still be eligible for legal aid.
Get in Touch
At BTMK Solicitors the first thing we do is ask you about your current situation, along with your financial circumstances, so that we can advise you as to whether you can receive legal aid. If you are a parent and social services are taking you to court, we’ll contact the Local Authority and obtain all the relevant information about the case so we can provide you with the best advice.
We’re here to advise you on all aspects of social services involvement in your family, and are experienced in all family matters. Whether you’re a parent, or another relative affected by the situation, we have a dedicated team of specialist family lawyers on hand to answer your questions!