Working With our Social Services Solicitors

The fact that we specialise in family law at Higgins Miller means that we’re used to dealing with clients who are coping with some of the most stressful events which life is likely to throw at them. These might include dealing with a divorce, handling wills and probate or undertaking the adoption process. What these situations have in common is that they require people to deal with hugely complex legal issues at the same time as having to handle a degree of emotional upheaval. Our role is to offer support with both aspects of these cases, and this is particularly true when it comes to our work as social services solicitors. 

Working as social services solicitors means helping people when they have to deal with social services for a variety of reasons. For many people, the very thought of having to deal with social services is daunting and stressful, and our social services solicitors will always work to make sure that clients know exactly what their rights and responsibilities are, and that they understand exactly what is happening at every stage. To make sure that this is the case our social services solicitors will always explain things clearly and calmly, and will work to keep emotions out of the process and use concise English when giving these explanations, avoiding legal jargon and over-complexity. 

Our work as social services solicitors, the majority of the time, will involve cases which involve the welfare and well-being of children. The fact that the well-being of children is involved is just one of the things which make needing the help of social services solicitors even more stressful than most other forms of legal interaction. We understand, for example, just how disturbing it can be for people to find themselves being contacted by social services with questions regarding the well-being of their child, and the care that child is receiving. When contact of this kind is initiated by social services it generally hinges upon information being provided to social services by a person such as a member of the public or family member or, in many cases, by a professional such as a doctor or teacher. If this happens to you, our social services solicitors will be able to explain that the social services department in question will have a legal obligation to intervene if they have a concern that the needs of the child in question aren’t being properly met, or indeed that the child at the centre of the intervention is actually in danger. 

In most cases, the interaction with social services will be initiated in the form of a letter from social services being sent to the parent or guardian of the child. This letter will set out the concerns that the social services have in terms of the well-being of the child and will invite the parents or guardian to attend a meeting at which the issues in question can be discussed. 

Many parents or guardians, when they receive a letter of this kind, find themselves being overtaken by feelings of panic, worrying that the worst is bound to happen and the child in question will be taken into care. The fact that panic of this kind is only natural if you’re not used to dealing with social services is just one very good reason why people faced with this situation should seek the help of our social services solicitors. The letter, for example, may mention things such as PLO meetings, Child Protection Conferences and Core Groups – just the kind of specialised language which might have been designed to wrong-foot an ‘ordinary person’ and make them feel as if they are totally out of their depth. Our social services solicitors will be able to work through any letter you’ve received slowly and calmly, explaining exactly what the terms being used actually mean and drawing on our vast experience to make a judgement as to whether we feel social services are likely to start proceedings in the court to remove a child from their home. We’ll explain how the process of working with social services is likely to pan out and how it will be best to work calmly and professionally toward a resolution which places the well-being of the child at the front and centre of everything. 

In some cases, for example, the social services department in question might mention making a home visit. If this is the case, we’ll outline exactly what a visit of this kind could consist of, and detail the kind of questions the visitors from the social services department are likely to ask you. We’ll also point out that the social services department may be taking the time to talk to other people in your child’s life, such as teachers or childminders. Although people coming into contact with social services often fear the worst, our social services solicitors will explain that in some cases the inquiry as a whole might be the result of a mistake or a misunderstanding of the situation. In other cases, it could genuinely be the case that a client requires some help with aspects of a child’s care. In cases such as these, the interaction with social services could make it easier for a client to access the help they genuinely need, and should therefore be seen as a positive rather than a negative thing. Working with our social services solicitors means that you’ll always know exactly what the situation is, how best to approach it, and what your interaction with social services will entail. In all cases, working with our social services solicitors means having someone by your side providing support, expert advice and the benefit of their experience.  If you want to find out more about working with our social services solicitors please call us on 0161 429 7251 or email us at [email protected] We’ve recently passed our Cyber Essential accreditation, something which demonstrates our forward-thinking attitude and determination to remain ahead of the competition. The first 20-minute appraisal is provided free of charge, and we’ll give you the first appointment for a fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about how much our advice is going to cost.  If you want to explore our wider charging system then please take a look here.

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May 12, 2022

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