If you need advice about social services involvement with your children call our specialist care team on our dedicated number.
Our Children Law specialists are experts in dealing with complex and sensitive child care proceedings. We represent thousands of people, each year, across the UK. We can provide assistance and advice to parents, family members, children and guardians across all aspects of child care proceedings.
The welfare of children is always paramount and responsibility lies first and foremost with the parents. The Social Services departments are under a legal obligation to intervene if they believe children may be at risk and the intervention and investigations can be hugely traumatic for everyone, and given their complexity and consequences, it’s essential that you seek expert help at the earliest opportunity.
How we can help
Our Children Law specialists can support you and your family with:
- Where children may have suffered sexual abuse or physical or emotional harm
- When Social Services raise concerns about a child’s safety
- When a Local Authority seeks an Emergency Protection Order
- With all aspects of child care proceedings, including pre-proceedings meetings, case conferences, care orders, child assessment orders and child protection reviews
- When parents wish to make contact with children in care
- Where parents seek the return of a child in care and the discharging of care orders
- When a child is at risk of being taken into care
- Where family members wish to care for a child who is at risk of being taken or has been taken into care
- Where parenting is compromised through addiction, mental health issues or
- learning disabilities
- Where children have special needs
Our Children Law specialist’s aims are:
- Be a supportive, patient, non-judgemental advisor throughout
- Remain proactive, responsive and committed for the duration
- Handle all proceedings in such a way that we minimise distress and upset
- Carefully explain the procedures involved in child care cases to help remove any fear, worry or mystery about the legal process
- Use all our skill, sensitivity and experience to ensure the best possible outcome for the child
- Communicate regularly and openly and always be ready to listen
- Examine funding options such as Legal Aid and make the quality advice you need accessible and affordable
- Offer appropriate help and support in the aftermath of an investigation
Care Proceedings Free Consultation
Our Family Law team offer a free 30 minute consultation for new clients and we offer flexible appointments that can be arranged around your work schedule.
2 steps to contacting Howells:
We’ll listen carefully to you, clarify what you’re trying to achieve, and then explain if and how we can help you. We will take some initial information and liaise with a legal professional regarding your case. If it looks like we can help, we will book you in for a consultation with a legal professional.
The Care Proceedings team
The Howells Children Law team is one of the best in the country. It has been consistently highly ranked for family work in the north, and is overseen by the hugely respected and much admired Alyson Siddall. Alyson has developed a group of many talents but with shared values. Tough and resolute in their legal representation, sensitive and compassionate in their client relationships, the team understand that they’re not dealing with ‘cases’ but with people, not bound up in legal process but in real lives.
The Care Proceedings team are part of the Family Law department at Howells.
The Legal 500 2018 ranks the Family department highly and states that “Howells handles the full spectrum of matrimonial work and children law matters. Alyson Siddall is ‘hugely experienced but always still keen to learn’, and heads the department which benefits from individuals based across Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley. Siddall is regularly instructed in complex financial arrangements and has additional expertise in private children matters and collaborative law. Sharon Lockwood is another key name to note for financial work, while Sarah Walker is highlighted for childcare matters.”
Q.When do I need a Child Care solicitor about my children
A.if social workers are telling you they are worried about your children or expected baby, then you can talk to us about what might happen. This is so even if your child has not been born yet.
Q.Will my children be taken away from me if a social worker takes me to court?
A.- the future care of your children is up to a judge. Not every child care case ends up with children staying away from their parents and/or family. Sometimes the application to court is not even to ask that the child should be removed into foster care. What happens at court depends on the facts of your case. You should come and talk to us as soon as possible if this is happening to you. We can give you advice about what might happen and often we can suggest things to do to try to make your situation better.
Q.Don’t social workers just want children to be adopted to make their statistics look good?
A.parents and family members often think this, or have heard this. Sometimes it feels like that if it is your child or relative and you don’t agree with what the social worker is saying. Adoption of a child is such a huge step to take that a judge will only allow this to happen if there are no other realistic ways for a child to stay in their family. A social worker has to look at all of those ways. Adoption is a last resort for everyone.
Q.My child is old enough to tell the judge that they don’t want to go into foster care, will that be able to happen?
A.Children don’t often go to court to talk to the judge, but the judge will know what your child is saying. Each child has an adult speaking on their behalf. The adult is called a Children’s Guardian. They tell the judge what the child is saying, and will recommend to the judge what should happen, independently of the social worker (and you). Your child will also have their own solicitor who works with the Children’s Guardian and makes sure what your child is saying is known to the judge. There are no promises that what your child says will be what happens, but the judge will hear their view and take that into account. If your child is mature enough, and doesn’t agree with the Children’s Guardian, then they might have their own solicitor who will put their views to the judge, and, though this is quite rare, will arrange for your child to attend court with the permission of the judge, to talk to the judge directly.