Family Law Solicitors

Child Protection

Every Farani Taylor child protection solicitor has a wealth of knowledge and experience representing both parents and children in care proceedings and all matters involving social services. 

How our child protection solicitor could help

At Farani Taylor, every child protection solicitor from Farani Taylor is a specialist within child law. They have experienced court advocates and are equally equipped to act as your representative or partner with specialist barristers to support your case. 

Our child protection solicitors have built mutually respectful relationships with courts, judges, barristers, and social workers and have a long-standing reputation for delivering excellence.

Click here to contact our child protection solicitor today for more information. All enquiries will be handled sensitively and confidentially. 

The services we provide

This list is not exhaustive, so if you have any other requirements, please do get in touch with our team of experts. 

Our child protection solicitor can support you with:

  • Care proceedings, if social services apply for care or supervision orders. We have several offices in London and are able to travel at short notice if required, for example if social services apply to take children into care.
  • A full range of issues leading to care proceedings, including injuries to children, if a parent is killed, sexual abuse, alleged induced illness, if care proceedings involve children from other countries, proceedings involving parents with capacity issues, and proceedings where parents or children have mental illness or disability. 
  • Emergency protection orders
  • Contact with children in care
  • Applications for secure accommodation orders
  • Applications by other family members such as grandparents to look after children in care proceedings, such as special guardianship orders.  We can support family members in obtaining the necessary help so that children can remain with their family. 

Child protection and safeguarding outside of care proceedings, including child protection conferences and when social services are investigating concerns about children. We understand how upsetting such investigations can be and are able to provide a negotiation link with social services to deliver a resolution.

Farani Taylor Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Find the most suitable, London based Child Protection Solicitor near you

Call us today on 0207 242 1666 to book a free initial consultation or contact us for more information.

What is an EPO?
Open What is an EPO?

An EPO is an Emergency Protection Order. A Local Authority may ask a court to grant this if they believe they need to immediately assume parental responsibility for a child. This usually means they believe a child is in immediate danger and they want to remove them from the situation in order to protect them.

What is a Care Order?
Open What is a Care Order?

A Care Order is usually created by a court at the end of Care Proceedings. An ICO or Interim Care Order will be made during the course of proceedings which can be amended or changed depending on individual circumstances within the case. 

Both of these types of orders permits a Local Authority to share parental responsibility with a child’s parents and make subsequent decisions regarding his or her care.

What can I do if the police have removed my children?
Open What can I do if the police have removed my children?

Under Section 46 of the Children Act 1989, police have the right to use their powers to remove a child if they believe that they are in danger.

The police will work closely with the Local Authority and most likely move a child or children to foster care. The police can only keep hold of children for 72 hours, so during this time, it would be advisable to contact a child protection solicitor to discuss your options.

I have been invited to a child protection conference. What is going to happen?
Open I have been invited to a child protection conference. What is going to happen?

Social workers arrange a child protection conference or a Public Law Outline (PLO) meeting if they are worried that a child may not be safe or well cared for or if they believe a child is at risk of harm or neglect.

A child protection conference is a multi-agency meeting organised by Children’s Service, which brings you and your child (if they are old enough) together with all the professionals already involved with your child (for example, your child’s social worker, GP, health visitor and teacher) to look at your child’s situation. Sometimes other professionals are invited for example, the police or a pediatrician.

The purpose of the conference is to look at all the relevant information provided by everyone at the meeting and decide what should happen next:

Child Protection Plan

If those at the meeting think your child is or might be at risk of harm in the future, they must make a child protection plan. This plan will state what needs to be done and by whom, to make sure your child is safe and well cared for in the future.

Core Group Meetings

This will be followed up by smaller meetings called core group meetings which will add more information to the plan about what you and your family must do to improve the care of your child and what the social worker and other professionals will do to help you and your child. The plan should explain how professionals will know that things are getting better for your child. The plan will be reviewed after 3 months and then again after six months to see if things are improving for your child.

Child in Need Plan

If those at the meeting think that your child is not at risk of harm but that they still need extra support, professionals at the meeting may suggest that a child in need plan or other support services are put in place.

It is really important you go to the child protection conference and that you prepare some notes beforehand to help you say what you think is best for your child and what help you need to look after your child. You can normally take someone with you to the conference – either a supporter or a child protection solicitor – to help you remember what you want to say and also to remember what was said at the meeting afterwards.

Please note: the child protection conference cannot remove your child from your care. This can only happen if you agree, or if the court makes an order stating that your child can be removed. If Children’s Services are concerned that your child’s situation is not improving and your child continues to be at risk, they might hold a legal planning meeting to decide if they should ask the court to remove your child from your care. If they do this they will normally write to you to inform you and you should seek the advice of a solicitor immediately.

For more advice, please contact our child protection solicitor who can provide you with immediate support and advice.

I am pregnant and have had previous children removed by Children's Services. What can I do to stop them taking this one?
Open I am pregnant and have had previous children removed by Children's Services. What can I do to stop them taking this one?

In this situation, it is very common to be concerned that your baby could be removed from your care (even if your circumstances have changed) and to avoid contact with professionals until some way into the pregnancy but this is not advisable.

Here are some suggestions to help with this process:

  • stay in regular touch with health professionals to make sure you get the ante-natal care that you and your baby need
  • Work with the social worker to make a safe plan for your child for when they are born.
  • you understand and overcome the problems which led to your previous children being removed from your care and establish what support you need with your new baby

The social worker will visit you and they will assess whether they think you can look after your baby. In some cases, if they are concerned your baby may be at risk, they might arrange a child protection conference with other professionals to discuss this further. In such instances:

  • See a child protection solicitor straight away. They can advise you and help you discuss plans with the social worker, even before your baby is born; and
  • discuss with your (and the baby’s father’s) wider family if there is anyone who could care for your baby safely after the birth if you are not allowed to. If there is, ask those family members to contact the social worker and ask to be assessed as soon as possible.

For further information and support please contact our child protection solicitor in London. Our team of experts will be able to help you plan and ensure the best outcome for you and your children

The social worker is assessing my family because they think my child is neglected. I do not agree. What should I do?
Open The social worker is assessing my family because they think my child is neglected. I do not agree. What should I do?

If your child’s social worker is worried that your child is being neglected, it is likely that they have received some information, perhaps from a professional who knows your child or a member of the public, reporting this. Social workers are required by law to make enquiries about the child’s circumstances to see if they are at risk or not. This includes carrying out an assessment of your child’s situation.

Even though you don’t agree with the social worker’s view, it is really important that you cooperate with this assessment. This is your chance to tell the social worker about your child and any help you may need to look after your child. If you don’t cooperate the social worker may think you have something to hide about your child’s situation and might become even more concerned.

For further information and support please contact our child protection solicitor.

My children are under a child protection plan. What does this mean? Do I have to go along with it?
Open My children are under a child protection plan. What does this mean? Do I have to go along with it?

It is really important that the child protection plan is followed to make sure your child is safe.

A child protection plan is drawn up when a child protection conference has decided that your child is at risk and needs a plan in order to be kept safe and well cared for. The plan is drawn up on the basis of the recommendations made by those people who attended the conference. The Chair of the conference will ask you what you think would help you and your children.

The outline of the plan will be drawn up at the conference, it will then be developed into a full child protection plan after the conference by a social worker and at regular core group meetings. The plan should be clear about what is expected of you and what you can expect of other people to help your child’s situation get better. If you are confused or you don’t know what you need to change or do differently, ask the social worker to explain it to you in writing after the conference and then get independent legal advice.

For advice please contact our child protection solicitors, for a free, confidential consultation.

Can I appeal the decision of the child protection conference to have a child protection plan?
Open Can I appeal the decision of the child protection conference to have a child protection plan?

If you are unhappy that your child has a child protection plan, you cannot normally appeal unless you can evidence  that there are grounds for judicial review – this is usually when Children’s Services have not complied with the law or they have been totally unreasonable, given the evidence available. Such cases are only successful in very exceptional cases, so it is probably better to make a complaint. How you complain depends on what you are complaining about:

  • If you want to complain about the behaviour of the social worker, any other person working for Children’s Services or the child protection investigation or assessment itself, then you should complain directly to Children’s Services. Ask them for details of their complaints procedure. If you want to complain about the work or behaviour of other professionals (e.g. from health or education) at the conference, then you should contact the agency concerned and use its own complaints procedures.
  • If you want to complain about the conference process, it may be best to first contact the Chair and ask if there is a complaints procedure for conferences. If you are not able to resolve matters, then contact the Children’s Services Complaints department and they will advise you what to do next.

Note: A complaint cannot change the decision of the original conference, but it could result in a new conference being held (with a new Chair) so a different decision could then be made but this is very unusual.

If you have been through the Children’s Services complaints process and you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may contact the Local Government Ombudsman about your complaint.

If you have any further questions regarding the child protection appeal, please contact our team and our child protection solicitor can support you further.

Can my child's social worker look at my social media pages?
Open Can my child's social worker look at my social media pages?

If your child’s social worker is worried about your child, they may look at any open social media accounts you have. This is because they are required by law to find out as much information as they can that is relevant to your child’s situation to help them decide what to do about any possible risk to your child.

Social workers also have a duty to consider people’s right to respect, privacy and confidentiality, so will normally only access a social media account with your permission.

For further information and support please contact our child protection solicitor and our team of experts will support you in planning and ensure the best outcome for your children.

Is the social worker allowed to speak to other family members about me and my child if I do not agree?
Open Is the social worker allowed to speak to other family members about me and my child if I do not agree?

When the social worker assesses your child’s situation, they will want to talk to other people who know your child including other family members, to find out what they think about your child’s situation, and how they can help you to care for your child. If there is a possibility you may not be able to continue caring for your child, they will want to find out if other family members could look after them instead of you and whether they can meet your child’s needs. This includes talking to relatives on both sides of your child’s family. However before speaking to other relatives, the social worker should normally ask you if you agree unless they think that asking you would place your child at risk.

Many parents understandably find this difficult but it is important that you agree so that you are not seen to be obstructive and so that all family options of support and care are explored for your child in case they are needed at any stage in the future.

It may help if you discuss with the social worker why he or she wants to speak to certain people. The social worker should involve you as much as possible and it is usually in your best interests to cooperate as much as you can.

For further information and support please contact our child protection solicitor and our team of experts will be able to help you plan and ensure the best outcome for you and your children.

The social worker has told me that if I don't do what they say my child may be taken away. Is this right? What can I do?
Open The social worker has told me that if I don't do what they say my child may be taken away. Is this right? What can I do?

Your child’s social worker does not have the power to remove your child from your care, unless this is ordered by the court or you agree that your child should be removed. However if social workers are worried that your child is not safe or being well cared for, and you have not made the changes they say are necessary to improve your parenting, they are likely to apply to court for an order allowing them to remove your child from your care. Before they do so (unless there is an emergency) your child’s social worker will normally send you a letter informing you that there is a possibility  they may apply to court for an order allowing them to remove your child. You will be invited to a meeting to discuss what you can do to avoid going to court.

If you are a parent (or you have parental responsibility for the child) and you have received this letter, you are entitled to free legal advice from a solicitor who can also attend this meeting with you to represent you.

Your child’s social worker will usually want you to show that you have made changes within 6 weeks of this letter/meeting otherwise court proceedings are likely to commence. Make sure that you are clear about what you need to do to stop the social worker applying to court. If you are not clear ask your child’s social worker and/or your solicitor.

If there is any suggestion that your child cannot remain in your care, you should get legal advice immediately from a solicitor . Our UK based child law solicitors will provide you with further instructions and the support you need to insure the safeguarding of your children.

I have received a letter saying that my child's social worker may start care proceedings if I do not make changes to the way I care for them. What should I do?
Open I have received a letter saying that my child's social worker may start care proceedings if I do not make changes to the way I care for them. What should I do?

This letter will normally state that you are being given a final opportunity to improve your parenting to avoid your child being removed. It will tell you what you need to change to be able to keep your child with you and what help you will be given to achieve this. It normally states that you are invited to a pre-proceedings meeting to discuss the improvements you need to make and provide you with information about how you can get free legal advice and representation.

If you receive this letter, or there is any suggestion that your child may not remain in your care, it is really important that you see a solicitor specialising in children’s law immediately. The letter should normally include details of local solicitors specialising in children’s law. You should give your solicitor a copy of the letter you have received. If you give them a copy of the letter before proceedings you will not have to pay their costs.

The social worker will usually want to see that you have made the changes they have identified as being necessary for your child to be safe and well cared for within 6 weeks of this letter/meeting, otherwise they will start court proceedings and your child could be removed. It is imperative that you focus on making the changes they have identified as quickly and diligently as possible. Speak to your wider family immediately to see if any of them could care for your child if you are unable to and if they can, ask them to contact the social worker straight away to inform them of this. You could also ask the social worker to refer you for a Family Group Conference which is where your whole family meets to make a safe plan for your child, taking account of any child protection concerns.

For further information and support please click here and contact our child protection solicitor.

The social worker has said they are worried about my baby and wants me to agree to them being placed with foster carers who could go on to adopt them. Do I have to agree?
Open The social worker has said they are worried about my baby and wants me to agree to them being placed with foster carers who could go on to adopt them. Do I have to agree?

No, and you should contact a solicitor immediately for advice before giving the social worker an answer.

If the social worker is considering adoption for your baby and your baby is looked after in the care system, Children’s Services are under a ‘duty to consider’ placing your child with approved foster carers who are also approved as possible adopters. The idea behind this is that if, at a later date, the court decides your baby cannot stay in your family, these foster carers might go on to apply to adopt your baby. This is called fostering for adoption.

If this has been mentioned in your case it is essential that you see a solicitor straight away and if you have not already done so,  find out if there is anyone in your family who might be suitable to care for your baby. If there is, tell the social worker immediately and ask for that person to be assessed as a possible carer for your baby.

You could also ask the social worker to refer you for a Family Group Conference which is when your whole family meets to make a safe plan for your baby, taking into account any child protection concerns. This can be a good way of finding out who in your wider family could look after your baby if you are unable to.

If you don’t agree to them placing your baby with foster for adoption foster carers, Children’s Services can still apply to court to contest that this is the right plan for your baby but you will have a right to argue against this with your solicitor’s help, and tell the judge how you feel your baby can be kept safe, for example being cared for by you or someone suitable in your family.

Our child protection solicitors  are experts in child protection law and care about you and your family, contact us for further advice and support. 

My child is disabled, does this make a difference?
Open My child is disabled, does this make a difference?

If you have a disabled child, the same child protection processes will be followed for you as any other parent. However, the social worker carrying out the assessment should also consider any special needs your child may have. For example your child may need an interpreter or someone who understands their individual communication needs.

Our child protection solicitors in London have worked with many SEN and disabled children, ensuring the well-being and protection of children within each case. For more support, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation.

Will my child be invited to the conference?
Open Will my child be invited to the conference?

If your child is old enough (usually 10 or over) they may be invited to take part in the conference. The Chair will decide if your child will come to all or part of the meeting depending on the information being discussed. Your child’s views are very important, and your child should be offered a children’s advocate whose job is to help children say what has happened and what they need. If your child does not want to go to the conference, the advocate may be able to go along on their behalf. Whether or not an advocate is involved, getting across your child’s feelings and views is a key part of the social worker’s job.

Can my child be taken away at the end of the conference?
Open Can my child be taken away at the end of the conference?

Not unless your child is at immediate risk of harm and needs to be taken into police protection. In that case social workers wouldn’t normally arrange a conference but implement alternative action. The main purpose of the conference is to decide if your child is at risk and if so, if he or she needs a child protection plan. However, if the professionals’ concerns about your child are very serious and they believe that a child protection plan may not improve the situation for your child, they may recommend that children’s services hold a legal planning meeting. This means they will discuss whether or not they need to apply to the court for an order (for example Emergency Protection Order or Interim care Order) to remove your child.  For emergency support or advice, please contact our child protection solicitors who can provide you with guidance on your next steps.

Who will be at the child protection conference?
Open Who will be at the child protection conference?

The meeting will be organised by a child protection conference chair. This person will be separate from the social work team that have looked into your child’s situation. It is the chairperson’s job to make sure everyone’s opinion is heard, and that you get a chance to share your views. The chairperson will meet with you before the conference takes place, and will explain the process of the meeting and answer any questions you may have. Other people who may come to the child protection conference include the police (this will be someone from a special child protection police team), the social worker who has been looking into your child’s situation, and other professionals involved in your child’s life, such as his or her teacher, health visitor, school nurse, and doctor. If you are getting specific support, perhaps from a mental health team, women’s refuge or drug treatment team, a staff member from these teams may be invited too and be asked to give an opinion about whether or not a child protection plan is needed. You can also take someone along to support you and communicate your opinions. This may be a family member or friend, or appropriate person acting on your behalf. 

Will I be invited to a child protection conference?
Open Will I be invited to a child protection conference?

You and your child’s other parent should be invited to a conference unless there is a very good reason that one of you shouldn’t attend (this will only usually be the case if there is serious conflict, including domestic violence between parents, or if there is concern that one of you may pose a risk to a child or anyone else at conference). If you are excluded from the meeting, you should still have an opportunity to have your views heard at the meeting. You will normally be given an opportunity to meet with the Chair before the conference or put your views in writing. If you have more than one child with different biological parents, each parent should be invited. Step parents who live with the child may also be invited. This means that sometimes there are a number of different family members at the conference. The conference chair person should make sure that any confidential information about your child is only discussed with professionals and you and your child’s other parent. Information should not be discussed with any other family members who do not have parental responsibility for your child, unless you agree. This means that people may come in and out of the conference at different times.

Do I need a child protection solicitor for a Child Protection Conference?
Open Do I need a child protection solicitor for a Child Protection Conference?

You do not ‘need’ a child protection solicitor, but it may be advisable to bring one. Things to consider should be whether you can afford to pay for one (even free legal help from a solicitor doesn’t normally include attending the conference), they may be able to write a letter for you. If there is a criminal investigation, complex disputed medical evidence, or if you are being asked to agree to something you think is completely unreasonable, you should consider bringing a child protection solicitor. Some social workers and even solicitors are misinformed about the role of solicitors at Child Protection Conferences, wrongly believing that they may not attend, or may not speak if they do attend. This is incorrect. A child protection solicitor is able to speak on your behalf during the conference, so long as they do not start behaving as if they were in court. If you decide against bringing a solicitor, or you are not able to, you may want to bring someone else who can help you to communicate your opinions in an appropriate manner. This may be a family member or friend, or perhaps an advocate.

Whether you take someone, or you go to the conference alone, it is a good idea to make some notes about what you want to say beforehand.

At Farani Taylor, we have years of experience in helping families, parents, and children involved in child protection conferences. If you are unsure whether you require a child protection solicitor or not please do not hesitate to contact us, we can help answer your questions before making any further decisions, in a free consultation. 

How do I complain about a child protection conference?
Open How do I complain about a child protection conference?

If you are unhappy about the way a conference was run or about an outcome for your child, you can either complain to the chair of the conference, or complain directly to the social worker. You could also make a formal complaint to children’s services. Your complaint will be dealt with in three stages. If you are unhappy about what a professional from another agency did or said (e.g. a health visitor or teacher), you should complain directly to that agency (e.g. doctors’ surgery, or school).

Our child protection solicitors can help you in creating a complaint, outlining the points you need to raise and procedures not adhered to. If you would like more guidance on how to begin a complaint, please contact us for further support. 

Key Contacts

If you are looking for help and guidance or have a question relating to Child Protection, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 7242 1666.