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

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 21 Feb 2017 | 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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HELP!I lost my appeal last Friday to stop my two sons going into foster care.One is aged 4 the other 7.All my five children were taken in June 2015.I have three girls and two boys.My eldest daughter has Cerebral Palsy and Hydrochalus.After a long fight I got first my two youngest daughters last April 2016 then my eldest in August 2015.I have done everything and more but social services gave me no chance and in done nothing wrong to begin with just ask for their help when I needed some now this is what's happened.I get six times a year so far once last week for just an hour and a half how can they do this.There must be something else I can do.I am not rich on benefits this would not be happening if I had loads of money but I haven't and they are distroying my little babies lives forever all my boys want is their Mummy I don't know how they all sleep at night.All my five children were and been abused in foster care and it has to stop for all these poor children's sake not just mine.Its because of what they do poor Baby P and Victoria Columbia suffer and do millions it's heartbreaking and sickening.Please help there must be something I can do I can't lose my sons for ever it's breaking my heart.Any one
Krissy - 21-Feb-17 @ 5:32 PM
Hi am the Aunty of to beautiful girl they have been taking into foster care for now not that there mum is bad from other people they have been there for a week had one bath they smell theyy were dairty when we saw them they haven't been out the foster people showt all the time they said they had a little dog when they got 5 my girls unhappy they were late bringing them to us so we only hat 30 mines with them little one had her nite were on under coat every time we get in touch with her worker she's off all on holiday this is wrong were do we go from here x
shelly - 20-Feb-17 @ 7:19 PM
My son has just turned 13. And is in a long term forster placement. He's been there 5 years now. At are last contact he said to me when her turns 13 that we could swap phone numbers and that he could have a Facebook account and add me on to this. Is this ture could I have my son's phone number now he's 13. Would love if someone could help me to understand thing that could happen now he's 13. Just I don't no if he is just saying this.
Tasha - 17-Feb-17 @ 11:14 AM
Uniuquebeauty89 - Your Question:
My son who is 9 years old was taken into foster care a year ago in December I was asked to get my own property with my long term partner and to have Councelling I have done these and not had anything back from my sons social worker.I don't know what elce I can do please help?

Our Response:
Don't wait to hear from them. Contact them and let them know about the changes you have made. Seek advice/help from a support organisation like Family Lives.
LawAndParents - 20-Jan-17 @ 2:38 PM
My son who is 9 years old was taken into foster care a year ago in December I was asked to get my own property with my long term partner and to have Councelling I have done these and not had anything back from my sons social worker. I don't know what elce I can do please help?
Uniuquebeauty89 - 19-Jan-17 @ 4:42 PM
Social services so far have done a lot wrong to us families.With me they took my nanny into a nursing home and she was dying when her wish was to die at home withmy uncles with her. Then they took my older son put him into mental hospitals where staff nearly killed him. Then my daughter got raped fell pregnant and social worker took her first born child from home then stressed my step dad out which he died a week later.Then social worker took my daughter again because she had another baby and same again wrongly adopted out . Then now they have took my youngest son now who is getting picked on at the school and with foster carers bullying him as well as the school and he asks to go home to us. And the judges at theipswich court decided to keep on social services side and not familyside.
Goodgirl - 6-Jan-17 @ 5:45 AM
Hi social services saw a bruise on my son a few weeks ago and they kept him in hospital for nearly a week doing a child protection medical ( we've had social since I was pregnant due to my age and recently got my son off the CP register ) they had a legal meeting shortly after and decided they wanted my and Cody to go into temporary foster care so we did , I then had an 8 week parenting assessment with my partner and they've now had their second legal meeting and are deciding to take us to court to get him put into care , their concerns are mine and my partners relationship ( were too dependant on each other ) the attention given to my son , the emotional bond between us all and my partners mental health , what are the chances if I fight against their decision? And how likely is it that my son could return home with me?
Monique - 29-Nov-16 @ 10:28 PM
lucy - Your Question:
I'm 21 years old and have a partner that is 29 years old. His kids are in care I was just wondering if it would make a difference with him getting them back knowing he had the support of me now but knowing I'm only 21 I don't know how the law stands as his eldest is 11??

Our Response:
Acourt would make a decision based on the all the facts. There are no specific laws relating to age etc.
LawAndParents - 25-Nov-16 @ 12:08 PM
I'm 21 years old and have a partner that is 29 years old. His kids are in care i was just wondering if it would make a difference with him getting them back knowing he had the support of me now but knowing i'm only 21 i don't know how the law stands as his eldest is 11??
lucy - 24-Nov-16 @ 9:31 AM
Hi My eight year old little angel was taken by social services as she scratched her face and said I did it to her unknown to me and her father my girl was restrained by teachers the same day so at the night I had to restrain her this is when she self harmed her beautiful face school have apologised for not informing us as I feel we could if dealt with things a lot different when she arrived home from school also her big sister spent a lot of time at her nanas house and my girl missed her so much I have a stamtement off there great grandmother that Rihanna (my baby who was taken) stating she knew she would get to nanas but now misses her mummy and daddy no charges have been brought against me and Rihanna does have anger issues.. social services was in my life for a while due to me having a massive nervous breakdown and used alcohol frequently as a coping mechanism I know this was wrong but I didn't know how to deal with life and became very anti-social I went to see psychiatrists to help me through and on various occasions the police was called out to my home due to me arguing with my partner because he left me for two years whilst I had a breakdown and needed him more than ever . The reaso police was called is I kept going on and on and on at my partner wanting answers in why he left and why I was hearing about him having affairs during this time.. my heart is aching every day I wake its like someone stabbing me in my chest and stomach Rihanna has stated she misses mummy and daddy and wants to come home I'm in court on 30/10/16 can I fight for her to be placed back with us it's been four weeks now and I want her home can I fight for this I have proved that I'm getting support with my issues and me and my partner have now resolved all issues and I realise now it was very wrong to argue in front of her but we have been together 21 years and I feel arguments do occur what are my rights how should I address the courts how do I show them how much I've changed and become more focused could they tell me on the day how long before I get my angel back she's never left my side for eight years now and I feel like I'm grieving I just want to know what to expect will I win her back .... please please help .. her heartbroken mother and father
Vh123 - 18-Nov-16 @ 2:55 PM
Hi My eight year old little angel was taken by social services as she scratched her face and said I did it to her unknown to me and her father my girl was restrained by teachers the same day so at the night I had to restrain her this is when she self harmed her beautiful face school have apologised for not informing us as I feel we could if dealt with things a lot different when she arrived home from school also her big sister spent a lot of time at her nanas house and my girl missed her so much I have a stamtement off there great grandmother that Rihanna (my baby who was taken) stating she knew she would get to nanas but now misses her mummy and daddy no charges have been brought against me and Rihanna does have anger issues.. social services was in my life for a while due to me having a massive nervous breakdown and used alcohol frequently as a coping mechanism I know this was wrong but I didn't know how to deal with life and became very anti-social I went to see psychiatrists to help me through and on various occasions the police was called out to my home due to me arguing with my partner because he left me for two years whilst I had a breakdown and needed him more than ever . The reaso police was called is I kept going on and on and on at my partner wanting answers in why he left and why I was hearing about him having affairs during this time.. my heart is aching every day I wake its like someone stabbing me in my chest and stomach Rihanna has stated she misses mummy and daddy and wants to come home I'm in court on 30/10/16 can I fight for her to be placed back with us it's been four weeks now and I want her home can I fight for this I have proved that I'm getting support with my issues and me and my partner have now resolved all issues and I realise now it was very wrong to argue in front of her but we have been together 21 years and I feel arguments do occur what are my rights how should I address the courts how do I show them how much I've changed and become more focused could they tell me on the day how long before I get my angel back she's never left my side for eight years now and I feel like I'm grieving I just want to know what to expect will I win her back .... please please help .. her heartbroken mother and father
Vh123 - 17-Nov-16 @ 8:32 PM
Hi My eight year old little angel was taken by social services as she scratched her face and said I did it to her unknown to me and her father my girl was restrained by teachers the same day so at the night I had to restrain her this is when she self harmed her beautiful face school have apologised for not informing us as I feel we could if dealt with things a lot different when she arrived home from school also her big sister spent a lot of time at her nanas house and my girl missed her so much I have a stamtement off there great grandmother that Rihanna (my baby who was taken) stating she knew she would get to nanas but now misses her mummy and daddy no charges have been brought against me and Rihanna does have anger issues.. social services was in my life for a while due to me having a massive nervous breakdown and used alcohol frequently as a coping mechanism I know this was wrong but I didn't know how to deal with life and became very anti-social I went to see psychiatrists to help me through and on various occasions the police was called out to my home due to me arguing with my partner because he left me for two years whilst I had a breakdown and needed him more than ever . The reaso police was called is I kept going on and on and on at my partner wanting answers in why he left and why I was hearing about him having affairs during this time.. my heart is aching every day I wake its like someone stabbing me in my chest and stomach Rihanna has stated she misses mummy and daddy and wants to come home I'm in court on 30/10/16 can I fight for her to be placed back with us it's been four weeks now and I want her home can I fight for this I have proved that I'm getting support with my issues and me and my partner have now resolved all issues and I realise now it was very wrong to argue in front of her but we have been together 21 years and I feel arguments do occur what are my rights how should I address the courts how do I show them how much I've changed and become more focused could they tell me on the day how long before I get my angel back she's never left my side for eight years now and I feel like I'm grieving I just want to know what to expect will I win her back .... please please help .. her heartbroken mother and father
Vh123 - 17-Nov-16 @ 5:59 PM
Hello I need some advice my baby was put in to care inAugust 13/16. My wife took our baby out for her appointment that's where she got in to trouble with the cops. and that's when are baby was put in to care just over night. And I was back home keeping are 6 other kids and when I heard about my wife and baby I was going to fly out to go and get them. I was told its out of their hands that shes in care. And now everybody is back in the same town but our baby is still in care we have her during the day and take her back at night. We keep on asking when were getting her back but they just give us the run around talk to her or talk to him, Me and my wife are drug-free and don't drink.
Bmm - 2-Nov-16 @ 10:07 PM
K - Your Question:
Hello, my sisters children were taking into care over a year ago. They applied to court and a care order was made. Since then I have said I will look after the children as it was made clear that she would be able to get the children back if she made significant improvements. She was all for me taking the children until she recently moved out of town and has spoken to another relative (who's children have been adopted) she said they would be better off in care and my sister has now changed her mind saying that she doesn't support them coming to me. We believe she still wants the children (she is on the understanding from her cousin that she will never get them back. Social services have never once said this to her) and the children want to go back to her. It is going to court soon and I'm going for a child arrangements order (I've read up on this a little) is it correct that it can be overturned and she can get them back or is it different with a care order being in place? We are unsure whether she has signed away her parental rights as she is severely dyslexic and has a poor understanding (social services took the children without anyone else there to explain anything to her)

Our Response:
The courts will make a decision based on the interests of the children - they'll consult with all the parties including social services.
LawAndParents - 2-Nov-16 @ 2:44 PM
Hello, my sisters children were taking into care over a year ago. They applied to court and a care order was made. Since then I have said I will look after the children as it was made clear that she would be able to get the children back if she made significant improvements. She was all for me taking the children until she recently moved out of town and has spoken to another relative (who's children have been adopted) she said they would be better off in care and my sister has now changed her mind saying that she doesn't support them coming to me. We believe she still wants the children (she is on the understanding from her cousin that she will never get them back. Social services have never once said this to her) and the children want to go back to her. It is going to court soon and I'm going for a child arrangements order (I've read up on this a little) is it correct that it can be overturned and she can get them back or is it different with a care order being in place? We are unsure whether she has signed away her parental rights as she is severely dyslexic and has a poor understanding (social services took the children without anyone else there to explain anything to her)
K - 31-Oct-16 @ 7:28 PM
Hi my daughters was taken into foster care on 13th may 2016.. On the 3rd October LA won care orders o have them put up for adoption I'm absolutely heartbroken... I currently have just over 4weeks left before I give birth again... Can they take this baby for the same reasons they took the girls even though I have changed my circumstances massively??
Channie - 24-Oct-16 @ 6:13 PM
My daughter got took off me she 5 mouths socail service took her off me.because my.14 year old sister was at the house and they saying my daughter wasn't sleeping in her cot witch she was in her cot after a couple off times she didnt like the rocking cot at all and I'm not letting my daughter goI can't afford to loose my daughter I miss her everyday
Kim - 22-Oct-16 @ 11:52 AM
My sister is 10 years old and shes in foster care; we had contact today and she was really emotional and wanted to come back to the family home, i need some advice as to what i can do to bring her home? Is there anything i can do? I am 21 years old currently a guardian for my 17 year old sister, could i be a guardian for my 10 year sister too?
luckie - 21-Oct-16 @ 9:00 PM
iam a mum ov twin boys they haven't bin wi me for 6yrs on a care order but lived at home s s tricked me saying it was respite I wasn't copeing were still imbo the boys were3 separated and still are after all this time both bin moved different towns why I don't no contact was every two week ive never missed once last month I was told my boys didn't want n contact anymore or phone calls thers no way I I its true bin to9ld to send cards etc like that is it over fo good I need help as its killing me is there anything I can do????
di - 19-Oct-16 @ 9:54 AM
Jlh - Your Question:
Hi social services been involved and my Brother has now got my niece of her mother otherwise she would gone in careHer mother rang my brother and said he can have full custody of her but her have wait until she got money to go solister to sign her over what I want to know is it illegal to do that when social services are involved

Our Response:
Social services will investigate if they are already involved.
LawAndParents - 4-Oct-16 @ 2:28 PM
Hi social services been involved and my Brother has now got my niece of her mother otherwise she would gone in care Her mother rang my brother and said he can have full custody of her but her have wait until she got money to go solister to sign her over what I want to know is it illegal to do that when social services are involved
Jlh - 3-Oct-16 @ 7:45 PM
Jojo86 - Your Question:
Hey the court granted my kids go into foster care on 9th aug this year I know I got wait till January to try appeal so I need advice on what I have to do? But I also help my child's social worker isn't telling us anything about or children like how they are how they settling into their new school things I would like to know Its like they took or children and keeping us out of their life's and it's not fair we saw them few week ago was hard for me but now we won't see them till Nov I want and need more contact with them anything I can do to get this? Even tho that's what court decided and they won't let me have phone contact neither I feel so alone like I failed my children has their mum I feel a failure I don't know how long I can carry on without them it's breaking me mentally they my world and now my world been ripped apart and it's like no one cares and no one will help

Our Response:
You should give the Family Rights Group helpline a call. They will be able to advise you individually on your rights and what you can do to keep up to date on your children's wellbeing.
LawAndParents - 30-Sep-16 @ 2:45 PM
Hey the court granted my kids go into foster care on 9th aug this year I know I got wait till January to try appeal so I need advice on what I have to do? But I also help my child's social worker isn't telling us anything about or children like how they are how they settling into their new school things I would like to know Its like they took or children and keeping us out of their life's and it's not fair we saw them few week ago was hard for me but now we won't see them till Nov I want and need more contact with them anything I can do to get this? Even tho that's what court decided and they won't let me have phone contact neither I feel so alone like I failed my children has their mum I feel a failure I don't know how long I can carry on without them it's breaking me mentally they my world and now my world been ripped apart and it's like no one cares and no one will help
Jojo86 - 30-Sep-16 @ 11:10 AM
My nieces mother' had moved them to Texas a few months ago with notice. I've been calling and texting her non stop about talking with them. I got a tip from a private source that it's possible that they have been taken from her custody. How can I find out if this is true. I'm just a concerned family member trying to keep my family close. Please help me.
Smiley - 3-Sep-16 @ 6:26 PM
I lost my home when my mama died so I've living in differents house's (freinds).I have 2 children (girls) the older one is living with her grand mother and the other was taken by the social worker.My boyfreind is building us a home is there any chance I can't get my child back? Please help me
n/a - 3-Sep-16 @ 2:05 PM
Saraheve - Your Question:
Hi my name is Sarah Whyte I was wandering if you could help as I feel very alone, I suffer from Autism and the social services saw how messy and disorganised my household can be sometimes. They previously have complaints that I need support. Also my time management and lack of support and isolation. I confessed this to the social services expecting them to know how to help somehow. Now my birthday their taking me to court to pursue care proceedings for my 9yr old child. Dispite I am bonded with him and we love each other very much and he is very happy with me. I have to admit I smoke canibis to that does not help but I done it for my anxiety and have cut down drastically. And need help to fully stop as my anxiety is very high and now I'm constantly worried about loosing my son.I was in a unhappy relationship at the time his now moved out and im pregnant with his child.Since his moved out we are not arguing anymore. I feel devastated that they make me feel that I use my autism as a excuse when I don't im just trying to explain to them but I feel very misunderstood.I need help to be the parent they want me to be so I do not loose my wonderful son. But they don't make clear exactly what I need to do and expect me to guess everything. I really need help and support I feel as though social services are pulling my heart apart. I was told also that by law they should offer me some kind of support that they refuse. I need hope that my son can be returned to me and that I can get the right support thanks. And im worried if my child goes 8nto care me and my child will be very hurt and miss each outher very much. And I imagine social services will show no care or emotional support at this dificult time. Any advice I would be very grateful thanks.Sarah Whyte

Our Response:
There are a few different avenues you could try for support. The Citizens' Advice Bureau may know of local support or groups that could help (certainly with the cannabis addiction). Both the Family Rights Group and Family Lives offer help to parents and those whose children have been taken into care - they both have helplines which are detailed on their websites too.
LawAndParents - 24-Aug-16 @ 10:40 AM
jarded - Your Question:
I nipped out to the corner shop (s) whilst my 5year daughter was asleep and the police came around to the house for a different matter which involves my friend's 35 year old daughter who has issues with the police. My child was found all by herself and taken into custody and since Monday I was able to see my child in hospital yesterday as she has been placed with a temp foster carer and I will be summoned to court some times next week.What do I do as I can not afford to loose my daughter and can not afford to pay for legal representation as am not working presently.

Our Response:
Try the Family Lives helpline on 0808 800 2222. They may be able to direct you to some free legal help.
LawAndParents - 22-Aug-16 @ 11:37 AM
Hi my name is Sarah Whyte I was wandering if you could help as I feel very alone, I suffer from Autism and the social services saw how messy and disorganised my household can be sometimes. They previously have complaints that I need support. Also my time management and lack of support and isolation . I confessed this to the social services expecting them to know how to help somehow. Now my birthday their taking me to court to pursue care proceedings for my 9yr old child. Dispite I am bonded with him and we love each other very much and he is very happy with me. I have to admit I smoke canibis to that does not help but I done it for my anxiety and have cut down drastically. And need help to fully stop as my anxiety is very high and now I'm constantly worried about loosing my son. I was in a unhappy relationship at the time his now moved out and im pregnant with his child. Since his moved out we are not arguing anymore. I feel devastated that they make me feel that I use my autism as a excuse when I don't im just trying to explain to them but I feel very misunderstood. I need help to be the parent they want me to be so I do not loose my wonderful son. But they don't make clear exactly what I need to do and expect me to guess everything. I really need help and support I feel as though social services are pulling my heart apart. I was told also that by law they should offer me some kind of support that they refuse. I need hope that my son can be returned to me and that I can get the right support thanks. And im worried if my child goes 8nto care me and my child will be very hurt and miss each outher very much. And i imagine social services will show no care or emotional support at this dificult time. Any advice i would be very grateful thanks. Sarah Whyte
Saraheve - 21-Aug-16 @ 5:18 PM
I nipped out to the corner shop (s) whilst my 5year daughter was asleep and the police came around to the house for a different matter which involves my friend's 35 year old daughter who has issues with the police. My child was found all by herself and taken into custody and since Monday i was able to see my child in hospital yesterday as she has been placed with a temp foster carer and i will be summoned to court some times next week. What do i do as i can not afford to loose my daughter and can not afford to pay for legal representation as am not working presently.
jarded - 20-Aug-16 @ 1:16 AM
hello there, i suffer with mental health issues, i have personality emotional unstable disorder and i currently have a nearly 9yr old son who is in care.....they social services took him off me due to bascially apprantly emotionally abusing him......also his dad at that time was carrying a large hernia and was unable to look after him to, the social services said that because of our mental and physcial disorder at that time we were unable to look after him! He has been in care now for 8months under a irtrim care order by the court.....please could i get some advice weather now as the father has had his hernia op and recoverying well weather he could go to the court and be able to get his son back!
scooby - 14-Aug-16 @ 6:47 PM
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