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My Children Have Been Taken Into Care - What Are my Legal Rights?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 19 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Parental Rights Family Law Law And

Q.

My children have been taken into care, Social Services have said it is respite care and that they are not on any register. I was asked to sign some paper work but was not given a copy.

My children were extremely upset at the time and the social worker thought it best to just leave. Social Services will not disclose the location of my very young family.

What are my legal rights?
(Mr PJ, 11 September 2008)

A.

Unfortunately, the law is on the side of Social Services if you have signed some paperwork. It is likely that the paperwork you signed was an order issued by the Family Proceedings Court giving Social Services temporary custody of your children. However, they are not the wards of Social Services but are wards of your Local Authority.

Initially, what should have happened was Social Services should have applied for an Emergency Order to have the children taken into care, and then they will have had to go back to Family Proceedings Court to get a care order. You should have been made aware of this from the outset so that you could have voiced your objections or petitioned the Family Proceedings Court to return a different ruling.

Once the children have been removed from your care and been placed in the care of the Local Authority, Social Services are not obliged – by law – to give you details of your children’s whereabouts for their own safety, even though from your point of view the children are perfectly safe in your presence. This is designed to protect not only the children but the identity of any Foster Parents the children may be placed with, however temporary.

Your first point of recourse should be Social Services, especially if you were not provided with copies of all relevant paperwork. In any instance of taking children into custody, you should be provided with copies of all orders issued or affected so that you are fully aware of your legal standing. Social services should give you exact details of why the children were removed from your care and qualify what exactly they mean by respite care. They should also be giving you details of any Family Proceedings Court hearings that are due to take place.

It is best to seek representation from a solicitor who specialises in family law and ask them to act as a mediator between you and your Local Authority. They will also be able to obtain copies of all orders and documentation relating to your case and clarify what you signed and what you agreed to.

He or she may also be able to petition the Family Proceedings Court for a hearing that clarifies everyone’s position in the matter and may also bring about a scenario where visits – albeit supervised ones – can be arranged.

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Hi how do you get a Judge Recuse due to her being Bias and I know she is not being fair and this ruin my out come in 21st May.I went back to court to ask for more time with my two young sons who were made subject to a care order last November and the social services only give us an hour and half every two months which is disgusting I also have three of their sisters who reside with me but we're also taken in June 2015 but I got my three older girls in April and August 2016 after a long fight.They haven't seen their brothers since December.Social services refuse me Mother day call birthday calls for siblings.Every time they refuse my sons can't see cousins aunts uncle great granny no one.And I have done nothing wrong and I am trying so hard to work with them but they are making it impossible.Now this Judge is the same one that made the order last November and is being really difficult so far and had said stuff she shouldn't say.I went back in October last year just for extra time and it's still going ,now I have to go on the stand again and they are trying to change everything including cutting our time to 4times a year and the venue where our contacts used to be even though my sons have always asked for mor time and to us more and their sisters too but they dont care.I know the Judge will go with what ever they she has so far since she took the case because she knew who I was so I feel I will never win this Judge but what can I do before it's too late.Any advise would be helpful.Thank you
Krissy05 - 19-Apr-18 @ 2:13 PM
Simple - Your Question:
My daughter was taken away by cps and put with my father and stepmother, because of some exhaustion and stress I needed to go to a first level simply put just locked unit which was embarrassing as ever! Im working on getting her back I see her once a week, I have ti find a plave to live keep a job go to counceling, and the biggest thing g keep a clean house!! I dont feel loke cps needed to be involved simoly out she could have stayed with my dad if tgey spoke to me till I got on my feet, but at least im still going to get her back im hoping by.july at the latest!! Any hope or siggestions or questions she is 2 years old just turned, I have no other kids , the only.thing is they have more money and bigger house and she goes to a bigger nocer daycare which makes me nervous for how my case looks vs. Them even though they can. NOTt adopt her

Our Response:
You could try contacting the Family Rights Group for more help on this, or Become - the charity
LawAndParents - 4-Apr-18 @ 3:29 PM
My daughter was taken away by cps and put with my father and stepmother, because of some exhaustion and stress i needed to go to a first level simply put just locked unit which was embarrassing as ever! Im working on getting her back i see her once a week, i have ti find a plave to live keep a job go to counceling, and the biggest thing g keep a clean house!! I dont feel loke cps needed to be involved simoly out she could have stayed with my dad if tgey spoke to me till i got on my feet, but at least im still going to get her back im hoping by.july at the latest!! Any hope or siggestions or questions she is 2 years old just turned, i have no other kids , the only.thing is they have more money and bigger house and she goes to a bigger nocer daycare which makes me nervous for how my case looks vs. Them even though they can. NOTt adopt her
Simple - 2-Apr-18 @ 5:50 PM
HI my child was removed in November 2016 due to dv and drugs and alcohol abuse...I've just had a new baby who was born on the 11th February my final. Hearing for my oldest is in April and I'm worried she might not be returned home because the gurdian says it's too small can the courts not return her due to the size of my accommodation?
Jr18 - 24-Mar-18 @ 8:25 PM
Hi my son was taken from me yesterday where CPT stayed he had bruises on him and that he had been egregious abused, I don’t know what to do, he is now in foster care and I want to know what I need to do to get him back ASAP!!! He was taken from me in school I made the mistake of disciplining him to hard!! I rarely ever spank him and I did not know that an extension cord would do that, when my brother was growing up that’s what I seen my dad spank him with because he would not listen, I did not know that I would’ve hurt my son like that, I don’t know what to do, but I’m willing to do everything in my power to get him back please help me
I Need My Son - 23-Mar-18 @ 1:09 PM
My kids were taken off me because social believed I hurt my youngest. I was arrested but never charged. Would I be able to get my kids back
Key88 - 21-Mar-18 @ 11:17 PM
N/a - Your Question:
My 4 and 1 year old have been in foster care since September I've completed everything they have asked of me never fail a drug test and I still am only getting a once a week visit that last from 2-3:30 I haven't been getting any response or help from my caseworker and she is so rude to me even when I ask the most simple but important to me things regarding my children and my case. what options do I have please I'm at a loss for the future of my family

Our Response:
See if you can find someone else to support your case, are there any organisations like homestart etc in your area who can help? You could try calling the Family Rights group helpline for more information.
LawAndParents - 19-Mar-18 @ 12:04 PM
My 4 and 1 year old have been in foster care since September I've completed everything they have asked of me never fail a drug test and I still am only getting a once a week visit that last from 2-3:30 I haven't been getting any response or help from my caseworker and she is so rude to me even when I ask the most simple but important to me things regarding my children and my case . what options do I have please I'm at a loss for the future of my family
N/a - 17-Mar-18 @ 7:28 AM
Shell - Your Question:
Hi my name is michelle and I have two children in full time foster and I’m trying to get access to see them because I got done for neglect because I suffered really bad depression and ended up getting mental health and 2 years ago I ended up having another baby who I won social services where I live and I have tried for 2 years to get access for me and my boy to see is siblings but the social services in Stockport are staying im a danger to my other children and they supposed to have made a sexual allegation against me with the police and they came back with no evidence and I don’t know what to do and need some advice thank you from Michelle

Our Response:
It might be worth seeking help from a third party like Family Rights Group... their phone line number is 0808 801 0366
LawAndParents - 16-Mar-18 @ 2:37 PM
Hi my name is michelle and I have two children in full time foster and I’m trying to get access to see them because I got done for neglect because I suffered really bad depression and ended up getting mental health and 2 years ago I ended up having another baby who I won social services where I live and I have tried for 2 years to get access for me and my boy to see is siblings but the social services in Stockport are staying im a danger to my other children and they supposed to have made a sexual allegation against me with the police and they came back with no evidence and I don’t know what to do and need some advice thank you from Michelle
Shell - 13-Mar-18 @ 12:45 PM
J1 - Your Question:
I was arrested for neglect as I was drinking while looking after my 2 month old baby. I suffer from depression and had rang the dr to get an appointment to restart anti depressants but couldn't get one that day. I explained to police and they said ss would work with me to try and keep the child at home but with help and support. I still intend to make an appointment to get the anti depressants and I also have already made an appointment with a local charity to see a councillor for support to give up alcohol. However, when I saw ss they seemed negative and mentioned foster care. It seems my babies father has told them I'm violent (which I'm not) and that I throw things and break them. This is referring to when I pushed a small table (not threw it at him as stated) and the glass top came off and broke, and when I threw a crate in frustration down the stairs, and he's saying I threw it at his head (which I didn't). However we had already discussed that and agreed that nobody should throw or push anything, and it hasn't happened since, but he seems determined to keep dragging things up and try to make me look bad. I certainly never was and never will be violent towards the child but he's making it look like I would. What will happen? Will ss work with me as I was lead to believe by police and the solicitor? or are they going to try to take my child. It's Friday and I'm not allowed to see my child over the weekend and will have a meeting with them on Monday. I'm staying with family while he stays at home with the child. I am beside myself with worry not knowing what will happen. Ss were contacted in January as I had another episode of drinking due to post natal depression but they just offered support and left it after that. I am totally willing to work with them to make sure this never happens again, as I said I already have an appointment to help cut out the alcohol. The solicitor said that video footage of the incident shows that my partner was winding me up and was just as much to blame for doing that instead of looking after the baby. I will do anything to keep my child with me. I've already decided to never drink again but have the appointment with the councillor anyway to make sure I have the support I need.

Our Response:
You're doing the right thing by seeking help for the depression and drinking. It's also worth looking at organisations in your area which can help you, such as Alcoholics Anoymous, MIND etc. Keep up the contact with social services, ask them about parenting classes (even if you don't think you need them), places you can go with your baby to help with his/her development/play and so on. Make sure you focus on looking after yourself too, it's easy to neglect yourself when you're suffering from depression, but maybe you could ask your family to make sure you get out for a long walk or swim each day and eat healthily. The benefits of this are much greater than you'd think and social services will look on this as a good sign. Family Lives is a great organisation with a helpline and Family Rights Group advises parents when social workers are involved in their children's care.
LawAndParents - 13-Mar-18 @ 10:28 AM
I was arrested for neglect as I was drinking while looking after my 2 month old baby. I suffer from depression and had rang the dr to get an appointment to restart anti depressants but couldn't get one that day. I explained to police and they said ss would work with me to try and keep the child at home but with help and support. I still intend to make an appointment to get the anti depressants and I also have already made an appointment with a local charity to see a councillor for support to give up alcohol. However, when I saw ss they seemed negative and mentioned foster care. It seems my babies father has told them I'm violent (which I'm not) and that I throw things and break them. This is referring to when I pushed a small table (not threw it at him as stated) and the glass top came off and broke, and when I threw a crate in frustration down the stairs, and he's saying I threw it at his head (which I didn't). However we had already discussed that and agreed that nobody should throw or push anything, and it hasn't happened since, but he seems determined to keep dragging things up and try to make me look bad. I certainly never was and never will be violent towards the child but he's making it look like I would. What will happen? Will ss work with me as I was lead to believe by police and the solicitor? or are they going to try to take my child. It's Friday and I'm not allowed to see my child over the weekend and will have a meeting with them on Monday. I'm staying with family while he stays at home with the child. I am beside myself with worry not knowing what will happen. Ss were contacted in January as I had another episode of drinking due to post natal depression but they just offered support and left it after that. I am totally willing to work with them to make sure this never happens again, as I said I already have an appointment to help cut out the alcohol. The solicitor said that video footage of the incident shows that my partner was winding me up and was just as much to blame for doing that instead of looking after the baby. I will do anything to keep my child with me. I've already decided to never drink again but have the appointment with the councillor anyway to make sure I have the support I need.
J1 - 10-Mar-18 @ 12:54 AM
Laceymae - Your Question:
Hi my kids have gone in to foster care in January 12.2018 as the said they were nelegct and that I couldn’t look after them as I’ve got lowbored iq and I lost my house to will I get my kids bk if I change the ways

Our Response:
You should talk to social services about this. Let them know that you want to improve in order to be able to look after them. They may be able to direct you towards parent classes and organisations like Home Start where volunteers help you etc. The Family Rights Group helpline might also be a good place to try - the family rights group supports parents whose children are in care or who are at risk of being placed in care.
LawAndParents - 6-Mar-18 @ 2:06 PM
Hi my kids have gone in to foster care in January 12 .2018 as the said they were nelegct and that I couldn’t look after them as I’ve got lowbored iq and I lost my house to will I get my kids bk if I change the ways
Laceymae - 4-Mar-18 @ 3:11 PM
ukdad - Your Question:
Hi, my daughter was put in foster care then went to live with my mother. She's been with her for 4 years, she's coming up to 10. Will social services try take away another child of mine if I had one with a different woman? Also I'm not allowed to see my daughter :( what age can she make up her own mind and see me as I know she wants to.The social services feel me being in her life is a danger. but she loves me and I love her and I feel me and her mother not being in her life will effect her childhood.

Our Response:
Sorry we really can't comment on indivual cases where we don't have all the details.
LawAndParents - 19-Feb-18 @ 10:39 AM
Hi, my daughter was put in foster care then went to live with my mother. She's been with her for 4 years, she's coming up to 10. Will social services try take away another child of mine if I had one with a different woman? Also I'm not allowed to see my daughter :( what age can she make up her own mind and see me as I know she wants to. The social services feel me being in her life is a danger... but she loves me and I love her and I feel me and her mother not being in her life will effect her childhood.
ukdad - 18-Feb-18 @ 12:50 AM
Hi my kids have gone in to care round the 12 January and am wondering how do I get them bk
Sara - 16-Feb-18 @ 2:30 PM
Pixie- Your Question:
Social services sent my daughter to her fathers for three weeks saying that I needed a break as I had broken ribs from a neighbour assaulting me. It has now been over two months her father has changed her school and social services are saying I won't be able to get her back as I can't keep her safe when I know I definitely can. How do I get my daughter back I didn't sign anything or have nothing in writing. My daughters father has stopped all contact with me and my daughter I'm only allowed supervised visit for one hour a week at her school. I think this is really unfair

Our Response:
You need some individual help which unfortunately we are unable to give. Try your local Citizen's Advice or the Family Lives organisation which also has a helpline.
LawAndParents - 12-Feb-18 @ 2:07 PM
Social services sent my daughter to her fathers for three weeks saying that I needed a break as I had broken ribs from a neighbour assaulting me. It has now been over two months her father has changed her school and social services are saying I won't be able to get her back as I can't keep her safe when I know I definitely can. How do I get my daughter back I didn't sign anything or have nothing in writing. My daughters father has stopped all contact with me and my daughter I'm only allowed supervised visit for one hour a week at her school. I think this is really unfair
Pixie - 10-Feb-18 @ 4:07 AM
My grandkids was taking from my daughter and place with me.5 month later she came to me saying she homeless I let her stay for a week Dcf found out a remove the kids now all six of them are not together they want let me see them are Talk to them how can i get them back.i Know i wasn’t wrong need a good lawyer
Duck my grandkids wa - 6-Feb-18 @ 3:01 AM
Johnson - Your Question:
My wife and I have temporarily separated to work on the problems we had in our marriage as our marriage was volatile at times. my wife had a mental breakdown and left for 3 weeks and I have had residency of the children for the 3 weeks and my wife has now returned. Her eldest son has resided with his grandparents on his fathers side. They have told her that he won't be going back to her. My wife has attended meetings at the local mental health clinic and is currently working extremely hard to put right the mistakes that she has made as am I. I wanted to ask what would be the correct path to my wife getting custody back of her son now that she has been improving in health and is rectifying the mistakes she has made.

Our Response:
Unless this arrangement has been formalised, there's nothing to prevent your wife having contact with her eldest son. If the other party is refusing to allow contact, she may need to consider mediation/the family court for a child arrangements order.
LawAndParents - 30-Jan-18 @ 10:45 AM
My wife and I have temporarily separated to work on the problems we had in our marriage as our marriage was volatile at times. my wife had a mental breakdown and left for 3 weeks and I have had residency of the children for the 3 weeks and my wife has now returned. Her eldest son has resided with his grandparents on his fathers side. They have told her that he won't be going back to her. My wife has attended meetings at the local mental health clinic and is currently working extremely hard to put right the mistakes that she has made as am I. I wanted to ask what would be the correct path to my wife getting custody back of her son now that she has been improving in health and is rectifying the mistakes she has made.
Johnson - 28-Jan-18 @ 3:33 AM
Hi I have 3 kids my oldest is 6 in April she live with my sister got take of me because I could not cope my other daughter has just turn 1 n she got take because I failed a parent assent but they think she said about me was not ture I just had a baby boy who is a week old n Ss took him of me I want to try n get him back so dose my boyfriend butjust need some help how I can get my baby boy back n my daughters x
Tasha6666 - 23-Jan-18 @ 9:09 PM
Hi please I really need help I want my new born baby back his Gona be nearly 3 month the social workes took him sway from me they think I can't keep him safe as I had.my past when I was 13 I got raped and they think I'm mental please I am devestratedis my first baby please give me some advice How to get my son back
Olga - 17-Jan-18 @ 11:29 PM
Hello to whom can answer my question, I am currently in the middle of dealing with Dcs an they took my two children that are the age 2- an 4 months old. For they thought I was neglecting my son witch I wasn't because he was under weight cause I couldn't breast feed for a month do to be sick an had to take meds for it. Anyways they took my children an took my rights away (temporarily) so what is my rights to try an get my children back home from Dcs as soon as possible An how do I go about doing so? Please any information is helpful. I'm so devastated an over whelmed with out my babies - thanks
Amber - 8-Jan-18 @ 5:08 AM
N/A - Your Question:
Hi.I have friend the ss take her 3 children's. We are not English talker and we are refugees.we don't know rules and our rights here.I need your help and support so so so much.my friend heart is broken.help help help

Our Response:
Unfortunately we can't offer individual help. You could try contacting:
British red cross
Family Lives (offers online chat support which might help with the language barrier)
or
Citizens' Advice
LawAndParents - 3-Jan-18 @ 2:15 PM
danni - Your Question:
I had my son in feb 5 of 2014 after I had him I went to jail for 6 monthes so I sign a power of a attnorey paper so when I got out I tryed to get him bk but they went to the courts and told them I abbandon my baby and they got coustdy of my son and I still have vistion rights but they wont never let me see him I need help I dont know what to do

Our Response:
Without knowing all the details of your case we can't help you. Please try the Family Lives helpline
LawAndParents - 2-Jan-18 @ 11:10 AM
Hi.I have friend the ss take her 3 children's. We are not English talker and we are refugees.we don't know rules and our rights here..I need your help and support so so so much .my friend heart is broken. .help help help
N/A - 30-Dec-17 @ 6:07 PM
i had my son in feb 5 of 2014 after i had him i went to jail for 6 monthes so i sign a power of a attnorey paper so when i got out i tryed to get him bk but they went to the courts and told them i abbandon my baby and they got coustdy of my son and i still have vistion rights but they wont never let me see him i need help i dont know what to do
danni - 23-Dec-17 @ 4:48 PM
Hi I have three children with 2 fathers social services got involved due to my mental health and suffering domestic abuse the fathers have taken the children off me and refuse to give them back social support them due to mental health and domestic abuse only I have left my partner and in a refuge now and I engage with my mental health team I also declared I was using speed but have stopped and told social truth whole time I reported myself to them to get some support for my children now it is in child protection and going to court what chance do I have of getting my babies home
Kellyboo - 20-Dec-17 @ 4:08 PM
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