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Development of new advice materials where children are deprived of their liberty

Published: 17th November 2023

2 minute read

Family Rights Group is delighted to have secured funding from The Law Society to develop new advice materials for families whose children are, or may be, deprived of their liberty. This is the latest in our expert legal team’s work to urgently address the information and advice gap facing families in such situations.

Every year, thousands of children are deprived of their liberty by the Family Court. Some under secure accommodation orders. Many others under an order made by the High Court using powers known as the inherent jurisdiction.

Depriving a child of their liberty is a serious step. It restricts the child’s freedom in some way. It may mean they are isolated or subject to high levels of supervision or restraint. It can have a significant impact on the child’s mental and physical wellbeing. And too often, children deprived of their liberty are living in settings which do not meet their needs and are far away from their families and communities.

For their parents and carers, there is often no access to early-stage information and legal advice to understand the situation and the plans proposed for their child.  Where court applications are made, many are unrepresented, left to navigate confusing and distressing proceedings alone.

The law in this area is complex. Without legal advice and representation, it is very difficult for families to understand what is happening, what their options are, and how to secure the best outcome for the child.

Family Rights Group is working to urgently address this injustice, to help get children and families access to the legal advice and representation they need.

Drawing on our expertise as a specialist advice-giving organisation we will develop and host tailored, accessible advice materials for families with children who are, or may be, deprived of their liberty.

New advice resources, hosted on our website, will include:

  • New A-Z entries explaining key terms
  • Answers to frequently asked questions which families often have
  • Tips and questions families may ask about any plan to deprive a child of their liberty
  • Template letters helping families advocate for their children and themselves.

The resources will further expand our extensive digital advice resources for families involved with, or needing the support of, children’s services. They will also complement the specialist advice provided to families via our free national advice line, webchat service and online forums.

If you a practitioner or lawyer working with families who could benefit from our advice, please refer them to our advice service. Promotional resources can be found here.

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