Pre-proceedings meetings are convened by Local Authorities in cases where there is Social Services involvement and there are concerns as to the safety of a child.
The concerns may be in relation to parental drug or alcohol misuse, domestic violence, emotional harm or physical harm to a child, or sexual abuse. Pre-proceedings meetings are held to set out what a parent/care giver is required to do in order to avoid Care Proceedings being issued by a Local Authority.
If you need legal advice in respect of this we can help. We provide free initial telephone consultations for all our clients. Call our specialist Child Law Solicitors now on 0844 800 9860 or contact us online for advice. Legal Aid is available for this.
What can I expect?
Pre-proceedings can be held after a child has already been voluntarily placed in foster care. Pre-proceedings meetings can also be held in circumstances where the child or children are still in the care of their parents, but the parenting of the children has not improved to a good enough standard and concerns remain.
At these meetings, the Local Authority can and should set out what a parent/care giver can expect to receive from the Local Authority and explain the specific concerns they have about the care and welfare of the child/ren. This may be by way of on-going support and intervention of a Family Support Worker to assist in the home and with routines. It may also be by way of assessments of the parents to determine whether a child/ren may be returned home.
These meetings are usually attended by the Social Worker, Team Manager with responsibility for the Social Worker, the parents and their legal representatives. The Legal Representatives are able to participate in these meetings to make representations on their Client’s behalf.
Following these meetings, parents are frequently asked to enter into a Written or Working Agreement, which they are expected to sign and adhere to, with a view to avoiding Court proceedings being issued.
It may be that the Local Authority sets out a time by, which parents may be expected to undertake certain tasks i.e. tidy a home, engage with counselling etc. In some cases pre-proceedings can be a useful way of focusing parents/care-givers minds to enable them to address their difficulties to avoid the Local Authority issuing Care Proceedings.
We are able to represent parents at pre-proceedings meetings and as long as a parent is prepared to listen and is ready to make changes these can be very effective. Free Legal Aid can be available for such representation.
We provide free initial telephone consultations for all our clients. Call our specialist Child Law Solicitors now on 0844 800 9860 or contact us online for advice. Legal Aid is available for this.