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

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 17 Jul 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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My son was care order placement with parents.everything was good I was getting good reports on my parenting we was waitron for court date for care order to end. But 2 weeks before xmas my sister went of rails an social worker asks me if ide look after em till holidays finished. January came. Next thing there social worker came to visit asks me in front of the kids can they stay with me I couldn't believe it I really wanted to say no. But how could I. The family stops talking to em coz they moved in with there mum there dad didn't talk to em there mum rejected em 2 weeks for xmas there big brown eyes lookin at me to help em so sadly I said yes in front of them they had problems they'd made lot allegations bout brother father my sister partner so I asked social worker to say I wasn't allowed to have them. Coz my son was care order she promised me my son would b okay. Sadly the eldest made serious allegations bout me although I did mess up that night I took drugs but still that's dose not mean I was guilty of what I'd bin accused of anyway police came took girls away including my son I was treated guilty straight away I don't no what happened to innocent till proven guilty anyway my social worker said to me sign contact saying I'll stay away from my family home till police finished there investigation I didn't want to sign it straight away but she made me think if I don't sign my son wid stay foster care if I sign now my son can come home now stay with his dad she said she'd have him home weekend this did not happen she also said in front of witnesses they'd help me get some were else to live she did not so I lost my son my home my partner in 1 night also police took to long 18 months it took to prove I was innocent what gets me the fact she made me holmeless with no were to go no help now they taken my child from his dad he's been getting good reports he gets new social worker new managers she never came every month like she was suppose to gave him no support just takes my child from him now they satin I can see him once month obviously I started taken drugs again after all this ide like to no can I get my son back I've started to get clean I'm in process of getting property I have meetin with her to do risk assessment but ide like sum advice on what I can do to get my son
Kat - 17-Jul-18 @ 10:42 PM
Bella - Your Question:
I am a grandparent, and recently discovered that my 5 year old grandson was taken into care last December. My daughter whos is his mother had estranged her self from the family and would not let anyone see the child and had no contact with us. I called social services to see if I could get contact, I am still waiting to hear. They have apparently got in touch with her to tell her that I contacted them. And she is now causing problems with the rest of the family trying to find out who told me. Is there any way that I can have contact with the child or do they need her permission as she has apparently given up parental rights.

Our Response:
If your daughter has given up her parental responsibility rights for your grandson, it may be that you can make an application for legal guardianship, presuming you had regular contact with him before the estrangement. Children's services should be able to support you as it's usually peferable for a child to stay within the family than be taken into care.
LawAndParents - 29-Jun-18 @ 2:17 PM
I am a grandparent, and recently discovered that my 5 year old grandson was taken into care last December. My daughter whos is his mother had estranged her self from the family and would not let anyone see the child and had no contact with us. I called social services to see if I could get contact, I am still waiting to hear.They have apparently got in touch with her to tell her that I contacted them.And she is nowcausing problems with the rest of the family trying to find out who told me.Is there any way that I can have contact with the child or do they need her permission as she has apparently given up parental rights.
Bella - 27-Jun-18 @ 7:14 PM
CrystalWillow- Your Question:
My 3 children - 2,3 & 4 - were taken from me after my violent and controlling ex partner gave him a severe black eye and swollen cheek. I was worried about it and took him to hospital for a check up. They called the police and social services and they were removed "until I had sorted myself out after filing a complaint against him. Now I have been told that, even though the police investigation is ongoing, they are taking it to court to see which parent or adult guardian could foster them or if they are to be put up for adoption. can they do this and how do I go about getting them back? I love my children and want them back and I am working hard to get straight, arranging councilling to help me with the mental issues caused by my ex. I am capable of caring for them and desperate to get them back.

Our Response:Try contacting a legal advisor, Citizens' Advice will be able to help you fine one. There is also lots of advice and a helpline at the
Family Rights Group
LawAndParents - 26-Jun-18 @ 1:54 PM
My 3 children - 2,3 & 4 - were taken from me after my violent and controlling ex partner gave him a severe black eye and swollen cheek.I was worried about it and took him to hospital for a check up.They called the police and social services and they were removed "until I had sorted myself out after filing a complaint against him. Now I have been told that, even though the police investigation is ongoing, they are taking it to court to see which parent or adult guardian could foster them or if they are to be put up for adoption.can they do this and how do I go about getting them back? I love my children and want them back and I am working hard to get straight, arranging councilling to help me with the mental issues caused by my ex.I am capable of caring for them and desperate to get them back.
CrystalWillow - 25-Jun-18 @ 4:48 PM
my ex’s parents have my child and are refusing visitation even though is been granted what can i do legally? What are my rights? Can I bring this up at my final hearing? Can she get into trouble for this? I have proof of his mum telling me I can’t see my daughter also she was not going to let him see her unless he quit his job I also have proof of that aswell. I have my final hearing next month we’re on an interim care order and my solicitor doesn’t seem to be helping with anything at all I feel like I’m doing this on my own I need some advice!!!
Stano - 2-Jun-18 @ 3:15 PM
My stepdaughter is 18 in 3 months, she is currently living in supported lodgings with her previous foster carer. The social worker will only allow her to stay with me once a fortnight and I feel this is really affecting her wellbeing, they won’t give me a good reason why she can’t stay more regularly, she wants to live with me when she’s 18 and that has been agreed. I work for the local Authority so have had all the necessary checks done, can anyone advise me on this please? It doesn’t make sense to me at all!!
Davina123 - 30-May-18 @ 11:46 PM
Desperate- Your Question:
Mt children are in Foster care, I'm in and out of court fighting for them but now I've had my money stopped as they left 6 weeks ago and I'm about to loose my house as I can't afford the rent. A 1 bed is the same price as my house but the min I loose my house social services will say the kids can't come bk as I've hot no where to house them. Helppp

Our Response:
You could try the Family Lives Helpline for some advice. Are your children school age? Your Job Centre might be able to find some work for you that you could fit in around looking after them so it's worth asking there too.
LawAndParents - 29-May-18 @ 2:58 PM
Mt children are in Foster care, I'm in and out of court fighting for them but now I've had my money stopped as they left 6 weeks ago and I'm about to loose my house as I can't afford the rent. A 1 bed is the same price as my house but the min I loose my house social services will say the kids can't come bk as I've hot no where to house them. Helppp
Desperate - 28-May-18 @ 4:26 PM
kez - Your Question:
Hi I'm after advice I got my son back 3 yrs ago. in February this year the local authority were going to discharge the case from a care order to a child in need order. because of the way the old social worker wrote the statement that never happened. which in turn had an impact on my mental health. the past few weeks my son's behaviour has been quite bad. I had an iro meeting a week ago and asked for help with my son like restbite but the social services haven't helped at all. on Wednesday I went to collect my son from school and told the teacher how I was feeling and why I cut myself which I've only done twice. and that I needed a break from my son. they rang social services now my son is in foster care. I've not signed anything and have been kept in the dark with what's going on. I want my little boy and I never intended this to happen I k ow he is hard work but I can and I'm more than capable of looking after him. all I wanted at the time was help and no one listened

Our Response:
You should seek support for an outside organisation like the Family Rights Group. Do not try and tackle this alone. Citizens Advice might also be able to help.
LawAndParents - 15-May-18 @ 11:43 AM
hi I'm after advice I got my son back 3 yrs ago. in February this year the local authority were going to discharge the case from a care order to a child in need order. because of the way the old social worker wrote the statement that never happened. which in turn had an impact on my mental health. the past few weeks my son's behaviour has been quite bad. I had an iro meeting a week ago and asked for help with my son like restbite but the social services haven't helped at all. on Wednesday I went to collect my son from school and told the teacher how I was feeling and why I cut myself which I've only done twice. and that I needed a break from my son. they rang social services now my son is in foster care. I've not signed anything and have been kept in the dark with what's going on. I want my little boy and I never intended this to happen I k ow he is hard work but I can and I'm more than capable of looking after him. all I wanted at the time was help and no one listened
kez - 11-May-18 @ 1:32 PM
Crissy - Your Question:
Hi I would like some advice as to what I need to do. last year my daughter was removed from my care because I protected myself against a man who made me feel uneasy. Her dad removed her whilst I was in the police station. I got released, no caution. As I went home to collect my child she wasnt there. Social services dont have a problem with the dad. I was with him 2 years ago and he was so violent and controlling it was unreal. So I left and got into anther relationship where it was bad and thats where he intervened. Whilst he has had her he has gone to jail for frued, so he left her with his mum. I have changed my life around, im doing well. Social let me.see her once every two weeks for a hour n half. He gets released next month. Social havent made a decision as to where she will be going. What would you guys do?? Thanks

Our Response:
We can't really give advice on this - social workers and the courts should have all the background information they need in order to make a decision in the best interests of your daughter.
LawAndParents - 11-May-18 @ 11:17 AM
Hi I would like some advice as to what I need to do... last year my daughter was removed from my care because I protected myself against a man who made me feel uneasy. Her dad removed her whilst i was in the police station. I got released, no caution. As i went home to collect my child she wasnt there. Social services dont have a problem with the dad.. i was with him 2 years ago and he was so violent and controlling it was unreal. So i left and got into anther relationship where it was bad and thats where he intervened. Whilst he has had her he has gone to jail for frued, so he left her with his mum. I have changed my life around, im doing well. Social let me.see her once every two weeks for a hour n half. He gets released next month. Social havent made a decision as to where she will be going.What would you guys do?? Thanks
Crissy - 9-May-18 @ 6:38 PM
We are investigating Newham Social Services. The have cases of acute mental health that are now 15 - 20 years old. The use organisations that provide adult social care but receive excessive contributions e.g. £1000+ per week for each resident. The also highly restrict benefits for those rendered alcohol or drug dependent - in some cases to as little as £5 per day. Contact me for further information - others may contact you to repudiate this. Thank you.
Pete - 9-May-18 @ 6:14 AM
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
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