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

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 17 Jan 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 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
Samurai - Your Question:
Hi I have two boys in care 11-5 year olds.in separate placements. What can I do to get them back removed under neglect as me and there dad had arguments

Our Response:
Speak with your social worker. Ask them what you can do to try and get the children back into your care. You could also try Citizens' Advice who will be able to tell you whether you're eligible for legal aid to pay for a solicitor to help. The Family Lives website also has a helpline number that you could try.
LawAndParents - 18-Dec-17 @ 3:12 PM
Hi I have two boys in care 11-5 year olds .in separate placements. What can I do to get them back removed under neglect as me and there dad had arguments
Samurai - 15-Dec-17 @ 11:35 PM
Smiley - Your Question:
Hi, I was in care before with my son, did anything, managed to get him off ss list, moved away, started a new life with the baby's father! Didn't see as for 2 years but now they showed up coz my uncle phoned police on my boyfriend/ex! And now they want to take me court to take my son as they think I can't keep him safe!!/what do I do

Our Response:
What did your boyfriend do? They can't take your baby away on the basis of actions of someone who doesn't even live with you. Try ringing the Family Lives helpline for some specific support.
LawAndParents - 22-Nov-17 @ 3:09 PM
Hi, I was in care before with my son, did anything, managed to get him off ss list, moved away, started a new life with the baby's father! Didn't see as for 2 years but now they showed up coz my uncle phoned police on my boyfriend/ex! And now they want to take me court to take my son as they think I can't keep him safe!!/what do I do
Smiley - 18-Nov-17 @ 6:03 PM
Can any 1 help me I have a 4 year old daughter that has been put into temp foster care I'm fighting to get her back I have left the farther and my other daughter has moved in with me I have contact with her twice a week I don't do drugs or drink I just had dv with her dad . I'm asking if she can come home for Xmas and spend it with me and her sister can this happen? The guardian doesn't no if she can support me in having my girl returned home to my care l.a don't want her back with me what can I do
Charlotte - 11-Nov-17 @ 1:26 PM
Hi hope this help they said i had alcohol misuse and mental health my children are placed with my dad got a new sw i showed them i dont alcohol misuse and saw a pychtrist there stating i have traits of bpd that means i could get it by law should they return my childre
Sarah19791 - 2-Nov-17 @ 1:06 AM
Confused - Your Question:
Hi I need some advice if possible.My son was taken into care age 3 his on a long term foster care order on the grounds of neglect. alcohol misuse and mental health issues. I wasn't in a state to look after him and his always been happy with his foster family. I've left it at that and haven't asked for him back as he was happy and settled. 6 years onHis now 10. I've moved local authorities and now I have a 3 year old and a 2 year old living with me was assessed by new LA when my 3year old was a baby due to other child being subject to a CO and case was closed 1 week before me 2 year old was born no involvement since. My son is now asking to come home. where do I stand with reunification? What will the assessments entail and where do my little ones stand if they fail me? Please help if possible

Our Response:
A social worker/support worker will be able to tell you this more accurately than we can. Or try the Family Lives helpline
LawAndParents - 30-Oct-17 @ 1:50 PM
Hi I need some advice if possible... My son was taken into care age 3 his on a long term foster care order on the grounds of neglect.. alcohol misuse and mental health issues.. I wasn't in a state to look after him and his always been happy with his foster family. I've left it at that and haven't asked for him back as he was happy and settled.. 6 years on His now 10. I've moved local authorities and now I have a 3 year old and a 2 year old living with me was assessed by new LA when my 3year old was a baby due to other child being subject to a CO and case was closed1 week before me 2 year old was born no involvement since... My son is now asking to come home.. where do I stand with reunification? What will the assessments entail and where do my little ones stand if they fail me? Please help if possible
Confused - 27-Oct-17 @ 10:44 PM
K - Your Question:
My stepdaughters 11 week old daughter has been taken by social services on an epo. The reasons behind this are to do with the babies father. My stepdaughter is the best mum in the world and has already signed a document to say she would never let him near her baby but 2 days later they come with no warning and removed our beautiful baby from her mother’s arms. Please can someone help us. They have kidnapped her baby and are holding her to ransom till the father hands himself in which is never gona happen as we have already told them he doesn’t care what can we do to get her back

Our Response:
Family lives helpline is a good place to start
LawAndParents - 25-Oct-17 @ 3:27 PM
My stepdaughters 11 week old daughter has been taken by social services on an epo. The reasons behind this are to do with the babies father. My stepdaughter is the best mum in the world and has already signed a document to say she would never let him near her baby but 2 days later they come with no warning and removed our beautiful baby from her mother’s arms. Please can someone help us. They have kidnapped her baby and are holding her to ransom till the father hands himself in which is never gona happen as we have already told them he doesn’t care what can we do to get her back
K - 23-Oct-17 @ 2:58 PM
I have two kids that is in foster care and I am needing some help I have leaning differently and that why they was tock off me is they anything I can do to get them back out off care
Sam - 19-Oct-17 @ 11:19 PM
I singed a agreement with social services on 11 of April its ran out on the 18 of April does that still stand or what happens then
Noodles - 15-Oct-17 @ 2:09 PM
I have wrongly put two boys in care and i personallywould like them to go back home tomorrow with there mummy
socialworker - 12-Oct-17 @ 8:50 PM
I'm on a full care order but I want to live with my nan but I live in a care home and my social worker said it's not Likely what can i do
Emi - 8-Oct-17 @ 11:36 AM
Hi I am seeking any advice you can give me. I have 2 children who live with my mother and her partner. Social services placed them in foster care 2015 my eldest aged 2 youngest 7 months due to my daughter having a bruise on her face. I was told by my mother my eldest had whacked youngest daughter with a doll and didn't think anything of it so didn't the fuss as it wasn't hurting her and my mother had never lied in the past. However when asked denied saying this despite me having witnesses who attended court. Soon after my children were placed in temporary foster care, whilst it was investigated, I was arrested on suspicion of assault as well as my partner. We were both NFA due to NO evidence against us. Social services then used my mental health against me as I suffer with depression and anxiety. I was pressurized to agree to allow my children to live with my mother in July 2016. I see my children 4 times a year and social services have said my contacts are positive. I have passed every drug/alcohol test they ever asked me to do. I have now found out I am four weeks pregnant with the same partner who was also accused of assault. I know it's still early but will social services be able to take my unborn baby off me or do they have to give me a chance?What can I do prove I am a good mother? That I am capable of looking after my children. I want to be able to enjoy pregnancy and not be in fear of imminent removal of unborn baby. I want to prove I am a good mother and get my children living home with me. They aren't on a special guardianship order yet just residing with my mother. I have many friends with children and a good support network. I work up to 16hrs a week. I am currently waiting to be moved into a new property due to alerting environmental health about the damp/mould problem at current address. What should I do? Any advice would be extremely grateful. I have described as thoroughly as I can in order for you to be able to assist me as best as you can.
Mel - 6-Oct-17 @ 3:49 AM
My 3 youngest girls have been in foster care since July 2016,all separate contact is once a week for 2 hours supervised, social work have said at a permanence planning meeting in April 2017 it has been agreed the girls will not return home,I have not heard or saw any legal documents in regards to this,I feel the situation has just came to a stand still, is this the normal procedure, x
Nicky - 4-Oct-17 @ 3:21 AM
P - Your Question:
Hi need some advice please my children have been taken into tempory care until court decide weather or not children should cone home or to put temp with a family member, but this family member has had involvement with ss before and had her kids took off her but this was a good few years ago but as she has not told them about this can my children be places with her if can't come home need some advice soon many thanks

Our Response:
We can't really advise if we don't know all the circumstances. The courts will usually order an investigation into the background of any one who would potentially have care of your children though. You can try contacting the family lives helpline on 0808 800 2222
LawAndParents - 19-Sep-17 @ 12:22 PM
Hi need some advice please my children have been taken into tempory care until court decide weather or not children should cone home or to put temp with a family member, but this family member has had involvement with ss before and had her kids took off her but this was a good few years ago but as she has not told them about this can my children be places with her if can't come home need some advice soon many thanks
P - 17-Sep-17 @ 3:54 PM
Krissy - Your Question:
Hi I need some help please.I got an appeal for more contact with my two young sons who are in foster care since June 2015 as at the moment we only get one hour and a half every two months they have three sisters also who I got home last year after a long fight but because I have a child with disability my eldest daughter who just turned thirteen they said I couldn't cope with all five which was a lie so my sons remained in foster care which is not right.I was told by my solicitor there would be three judges,when I got to court this Monday 4th September on the board it was the same Judge that took my sons away and ordered they remain in foster care till my sons are eighteen.This Judge is not very nice and will never go back on her judgment so should she be allowed to do my appeal?She has now ordered I do a statement saying why I want more time and to prove I'm not trying to get my sons home then come back to court and go on the witness stand be questioned,I just don't understand and I done loads of statements last year and had to be in the box twice we just want more time and I will never ever give up to get my sons home I will do whatever it takes.They don't make it easy and social services are so awkward and never listen.Is there anything else I can do?Can I ask for a different judge?Any help I would be grateful.Thank you

Our Response:
You could try seeking some individual advice and support on the Family Lives Helpline
LawAndParents - 8-Sep-17 @ 12:04 PM
Hi I need some help please.I got an appeal for more contact with my two young sons who are in foster care since June 2015 as at the moment we only get one hour and a half every two months they have three sisters also who I got home last year after a long fight but because I have a child with disability my eldest daughter who just turned thirteen they said I couldn't cope with all five which was a lie so my sons remained in foster care whichis not right.I was told by my solicitor there would be three judges,when i got to court this Monday 4th September on the board it was the same Judge that took my sons away and ordered they remain in foster care till my sons are eighteen.This Judge is not very nice and will never go back on her judgment so should she be allowed to do my appeal?She has now ordered I do a statement saying why I want more time and to prove I'm not trying to get my sons home then come back to court and go on the witness stand be questioned,I just don't understand and I done loads of statements last year and had to be in the box twice we just want more time and I will never ever give up to get my sons home I will do whatever it takes.They don't make it easy and social services are so awkward and never listen.Is there anything else I can do?Can I ask for a different judge?Any help i would be grateful.Thank you
Krissy - 7-Sep-17 @ 12:03 PM
Chedd - Your Question:
Hi My daughter contacted me last night she is in foster care. Her mother ran away with her 14 and a half years ago. I have not been able to find her. What can I do to help her or be involved in her life. I am not happy I was not contacted. I want her with me. Please advise what I can do.

Our Response:
Can you speak with social services in the area where your daughter is living? Alternatively, apply to the court for contact etc?
LawAndParents - 5-Sep-17 @ 12:23 PM
Hi My daughter contacted me last night she is in foster care. Her mother ran away with her 14 and a half years ago. I have not been able to find her. What can i do to help her or be involved in her life. I am not happy I was not contacted. I want her with me. Please advise what I can do.
Chedd - 3-Sep-17 @ 5:42 PM
AMY - Your Question:
Hi there I am 25 and just found out I am pregnant I have 2 children who are in care because they said I neglected them they were 4 and 2 when they went I call every few months to talk to the social worker about they took them 6 years ago I have moved got a job can they take my child off me

Our Response:
Talk to social services as you'll be on their register anyway. They don't want to take children away from their mothers and will re-assess your situatiion, acknowledging the fact that you are older and have a job etc. Hopefully they will support you in bringing up this next baby yourself.
LawAndParents - 9-Aug-17 @ 12:23 PM
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