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Why are Children's Services involved with my child?

Why are Children's Services involved with my child?

Children's Services are provided by the Social Work Department in each Local Authority (Council) - you may want to know why children's services are involved with your child. Children's Services deal with concerns about a child's welfare and provide assistance and protection for children in need.

A child in need is one:

  • who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or;
  • whose health or development is likely to be impaired significantly unless such services are provided; or
  • who is disabled; or
  • who is adversely affected by the disability of another member of their family.

If the Social Work Department in your area is concerned about your child they will contact you to discuss their concerns. Their starting point is to try to help you to ensure that your child can remain within your care. If that is not possible, for whatever reason, they will consider your child living with a family member (kinship placement). As a last resort they may remove your child from the family home and place them in foster care.

It is social workers who deal with Children's Services. They need authority from either you, the Children's Reporter or the Court before they can make any decisions about your child's welfare. If you agree to their help then your child's place of residence will be set out in a voluntary agreement that you will be asked to sign. This may involve residence conditions which you will need to comply with. If your child is removed from the family home you will also be asked to agree to contact conditions.

If you do not agree with a voluntary arrangement and Children's Services are sufficiently concerned about your child, a social worker can apply for a Child Protection Order which may be granted by a Sheriff. This order enables the Social Work Department to make decisions about residence and contact without your consent. A Child Protection Order is only a temporary resolution. If you have parental rights and responsibilities, or usually have care and control of your child, you will be invited to attend panel hearings. (These hearings are also known as Children's Hearings.)

Children's Services is there to protect your child and not you. If you need any legal advice on decisions being made by the Social Work Department or their involvement in your life please contact one of our experienced family solicitors.

CTA Settlement Agreement

Written by : TC Young