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Overview of Childcare & Social Services Legal Help

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Social Services Legal Advice in relation to Childcare & Adoption

If your enquiry relates to childcare or adoption legal proceedings, our team of Childcare & Social Services solicitors will help you to understand the legal process, the steps taken, the timescales involved and above all we will help guide you through the legal maze you face.

Members of the Law Society’s Children Panel

Our team of dedicated child care solicitors comprises of 3 solicitors, a trainee solicitor and 4 paralegals.  Three of our solicitors are proud to be on the esteemed Law Society Children’s Panel and are referred to as Children Panel Solicitors. This means they can take instructions from parents and children (this is usually via a CAFCASS* appointed guardian but in some circumstances can be directly from the child themselves). Our team can also accept instructions from Grandparents and other family members seeking to be part of the proceedings.

*CAFCASS is an independent organisation tasked with looking after the interests of children involved in family proceedings and works with children and their families: it advises the court on what it considers to be in the children’s best interests

PLO Meeting or Care Proceedings

If the local authority have involvement in the life of your family, have invited you to PLO meeting (Pre-proceedings meeting) or have issued care proceedings, then you will need compassionate and sensible advice from a childcare & social services solicitor who will be there to guide you through the challenges you face.

Our childcare law team only deals with this area of law and so you can expect specialist and professional service. We recognise that these proceedings can be extremely emotional and stressful, so we ensure the advice given is not only professional but compassionate – we’ll be there to guide you through every step of the process.

It is important that you know that in most cases, including at PLO and throughout the court process,  you will be entitled to FREE advice and representation by a solicitor through the Legal Aid scheme. We can advise on all aspects of funding when you call us.

Get Legal Help with Childcare & Social Services

Wilson Browne Solicitors always advise clients who are seeking help with child care matters or who are facing a Pre-proceedings Meeting (PLO) with Social Services – to get in touch as soon as possible before the situation escalates.

The team have many years of experience in all areas of child care legal proceedings including:

  • Pre-proceedings work to include PLO’s
  • Legal aid advice
  • Care proceedings
  • Guardian instructions
  • DNA, declaration of parentage and Parental responsibility orders
  • Coercive control
  • Neglect
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug and alcohol issues
  • Honour based violence
  • Jurisdictional issues
  • Clients based outside of the UK.
  • International care matters
  • Cultural differences
  • Non-Accidental Injuries
  • Child deaths
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • Emotional harm
  • Physical harm
  • Adoption
  • Special Guardianship
  • Contact within proceedings.
  • Parental alienation
  • Grandparents contact
  • Care Orders
  • Interim Care Orders
  • Supervision Orders
  • Interim Supervision Orders
  • Official solicitor
  • Cognitive and capacity issues
  • Fact find hearings
  • Expert assessments
  • Parenting assessments/ Family assessments/sibling assessments
  • Parental responsibility
  • Foster care
  • Mental health
  • Learning difficulties
  • Use of advocates, interpreters and intermediaries
  • Court hearings
  • Clients who are currently in prison

Earlier this year my world was turned upside down when I was faced with allegations of causing non accidental injuries to my baby.

Helen and Lauren worked tirelessly on my case throughout proceedings. The case was medically complex and there were many twists and turns during the seven months that it took to receive a final judgement. Helen ensured that I had the perfect team to represent me at all times.

Absolutely everything was clearly explained to me and both Helen and Lauren were prompt in providing me with essential updates. Their communication struck the perfect balance between professional and friendly. Timescales became incredibly tight on a number of occasions but the team always managed to pull through so as not to cause any delays which would have further impacted on my family life.

I can’t thank Helen and Lauren enough for their kindness and support in getting my baby home in time for her first birthday.  Ms C.

Strictly speaking, we are not limited by geography in terms of representing clients. However, particularly where legal aid is concerned we are most likely to be able to help if you live in:

Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire, Coventry & Warwickshire, Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire, Peterborough, North and East Oxfordshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Lincolnshire.

When you contact the Childcare law team, you’ll be drawing on the experience and expertise of one of the most established teams in the area which offers the convenience of meeting you at one of our offices across Northamptonshire and Leicestershire in Northampton, Kettering, Corby, Higham Ferrers, Wellingborough and Leicester.

Latest News

Adoption order (Mr X and another v M)

In Mr X v M [2022] EWFC 168, [2022] All ER (D) 101 (Nov), the Family Division allowed the application for the adoption of a young person who was aged 18.

The application was made by close relatives who had brought him up as their own son since he was four years old. The court held, among other things, that he might be a young adult, but his welfare and rights to respect for his private and family life pursuant to ECHR, Art 8 required his position as the son of the applicants and their position as his parents to be fully recognised.

Such interference with the mother’s ECHR, Art 8 rights as that order brought was both necessary and proportionate in all the circumstances.


Public children. Nuffield study on vulnerability of children subject to deprivation of liberty applications

The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory has published an analysis of court applications that seek to deprive children of their liberty in England and Wales, concluding that the study exposes the extreme vulnerability of the children involved and raises further questions about the severe shortage of appropriate provision to meet their needs.

The analysis involved studying applications made to the Family Division of the High Court to deprive children of their liberty where there were concerns about their welfare.

The study follows the launch by the President of the Family Division in July 2022 of a national deprivation of liberty court at the Royal Courts of Justice, which is running for a pilot period of 12 months. The pilot was set up partly as a way of managing the listing of the high number of applications coming into local family courts, and from July 2022 all applications from England and Wales to deprive children of their liberty under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court have been issued at this court.


Analysis of risk of harm (Re H [a child] [care and placement orders: parents with learning difficulties])

In Re H (a child) (care and placement orders: parents with learning difficulties) [2023] EWCA Civ 59, [2023] All ER (D) 22 (Feb), the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the parents of a child from a decision of the Family Court to make care and placement orders in regard to the child largely on the basis of concessions by the parents both of whom had learning difficulties.

The child had three much older brothers and a sister, all of whom had cognitive impairments. The local authority had been heavily involved with the family since 2011.

There were unproved allegations of sexualised behaviour and abuse between the older children and between one of the brothers and the mother.

The judgment in the court below, although lengthy and complex, had failed to provide correct analysis. Despite the very clear warnings the judge had given himself that the various allegations of sexualised behaviour and abuse between the older children had not been proved, he had nevertheless proceeded on the basis that the child was ‘at risk’ of suffering sexual harm.

The proportionality evaluation could not stand. Despite his great industry, the judge’s analysis was insufficient to entitle him to reach the conclusion required by the case law, that nothing else but adoption would meet the welfare needs of the child.