Keeping Children Safe

A lesser-known side of Child Care Proceedings and Social Services

Involvement with social services often has stigma attached to it, even more so if the Local Authority issue care proceedings through the court. This is a lesser-known side to care proceedings and is often when the local authority deem a child to be: “beyond parental control”. This means that a parent or parents despite their best efforts and engagement with support services are not able to keep a child or young person safe and the Local Authority must step in.

The reasons why a child may be too much for their parents or carers to cope with can be varied and many, examples of which are: physical disability, learning need or a mental health issue. Physical disability can be limited and form part of the problem or profound and need expert attention. A child may have a learning need which means they may act much younger than their age but still have the physical strength of a young adult and in times of crisis prove to be too physically strong for their parents. Mental health issues may lead a young person to self-harm or to fall into dangerous situations. In such circumstances it may prove too demanding for a parent to provide the high level of supervision necessary to keep a child safe.

So, despite best efforts of parents, proceedings begin to search for somewhere that can meet the child’s needs. A Local authority has a duty of care to provide an adequate placement. Unfortunately, finding the right placement can be very difficult. In our experience the number of young people who require these placements is far greater than the number of placements available. There are further problems when some placements do not meet a child’s full needs.

This is where we can help. These proceedings often last around six months and in this time the child or young person may need expert assessment such as an assessment by an expert paediatrician, An occupational therapist, or a psychologist. These assessments can be used to assist a young person to access the support on offer and find a placement tailored to their needs. During these proceedings we can advise and represent in a child’s best interests. We can ensure that a child receives the best support available and that contact with parents and family is as frequent as possible and the opportunity can be taken to consider a child’s long-term needs. In many cases, the right assessment and/or diagnosis can have a beneficial impact on a child’s future.

If you are concerned and are struggling to cope with your child and social care have discussed with you a placement outside of your care, please contact us and speak to one of our specialists.

Posted in Uncategorized on Oct 15, 2021

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