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Legal planning meeting

This is an internal meeting called by children’s services when a social worker is concerned that children’s services might need to apply for a court order to protect a child.

The meeting will be chaired by a senior manager. The child’s social worker will explain their concerns. A lawyer from children’s services will attend to provide legal advice to the social work team. Together, they will decide what they think is in the child’s best interests.

They may consider some of the following options:

  • Give the parents more support and time to improve their parenting, or work with the child if they are beyond parental control.
  • Further work with the family to identify and assess someone else in the child’s wider family who may be able to care for them.
  • Seek the parents’ agreement for the child to live with someone else straightaway, perhaps until the case is ready for the first court hearing.
  • Apply to the court for an order to remove the child from the parents’ care.

Because it is an internal meeting with the social work team and their lawyer, parents will not be invited nor entitled to any papers from the meeting. However, the parents should be sent a letter telling them what was decided and the next steps that will be taken. This might be a letter before proceedings or a letter of issue (which confirms that children’s services are starting care proceedings).

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