Sometimes, for whatever reason, Social Services (the Local Authority) may need to intervene in the way that children are being looked after, particularly if they have concerns for their safety or welfare. They will need to apply for orders from court to be allowed to do this, and it is possible for a parent or other family member to challenge the order. If the Social Services wish to take children away from their parents, they require a Care Order and must apply for one through the court. However, if they feel that a child is in danger they can apply for an Emergency Order to take the children into care immediately, and afterwards go back to court to get a Care Order.
What can I do to prevent it?
If you are the parent of the child: In most cases, if you are the parent of a child that is the subject of Local Authority Care proceedings, you will be entitled to legal aid. If you are in this situation, we suggest that you approach a firm that provides legal aid as this is not something that we are able to offer SA Law.
If you are a grandparent or other family member of the child: In the first instance if the Local Authority are seeking the removal of a child from a parent, they are obliged to consider whether there are any other family members or relatives who are willing and able to look after the child, as an alternative to placing the child in foster care, (or ultimately for adoption). If you are a family member wishing to put yourself forward to care for a child in this situation you may not be entitled to legal aid. We can help you navigate the court proceedings and deal with the Local Authority to ensure that you are considered as a carer for the child in this process. If appropriate, we can help you apply to be made a party to proceedings and seek the care of the child on either an interim or permanent basis. We understand that cost can be a concern and we will keep you fully informed every step of the way.