What are family pre-proceedings and how can we help you?

16 May 2018

by Gemma Stenson

Court proceedings involving your child or children or those that are your extended family members are perhaps the most stressful that you can imagine. 

Pre-proceedings are the final step the local authority takes before deciding to issue care proceedings in respect of a child/children. The aim of this process to try and intervene and help families before there is a need to make an application to court which might involve taking a child or children into social services care.

Social services will become involved if there are child protection concerns. If they deem it necessary they will invite a parent to a meeting to discuss these concerns. The local authority will serve you with a letter inviting you to this meeting.

Their legal representatives will discuss the issues and a plan will be put in place for steps to be taken to address the concerns. The purpose of this meeting is for the social worker to assess the family’s needs and identify what support can be offered with professionals and also within the wider family. It’s really important that you obtain legal advice at this stage because life changing decisions could be made.

The local authority may ask the parents to nominate alternative carers to be assessed. They could be other members of the extended family such as grandparents. This step is taken as precaution for initial assessments to be completed, called viability assessments. The purpose of this assessment is to assess their capacity and ability to have full time care of the child/children. These assessments will be completed and held on file should care proceedings be issued in the future.

Regular review meetings will be arranged to discuss progress and a legal representative can attend meetings with you. It is always recommended that you obtain legal advice when going through the pre-proceedings process.

Legal Aid help and advice is available and we can assist you in this regard.

Call us on 0151 239 1000 for sympathetic and professional representation which is all about making sure that these incredibly important decisions are taken care of with the interests of you and the child or children concerned at heart.

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