Childcare Solicitors

Childcare Solicitors

For challenging times

If a child is considered to be at risk, or is the subject of care proceedings, our childcare solicitors can help you. We represent parents, family members and carers of children in proceedings. We can also act on behalf of the child involved.

The law can be complex and overwhelming, especially when the welfare of a child is involved. But don't worry, you've come to the right place.

We specialise in offering expert advice and guidance in childcare law, from child protection issues to care proceedings. 

In providing legal support, we’ll listen to your worries and concerns and we’ll give you honest and realistic advice. With our team of dedicated childcare solicitors, you can be sure you’re getting advice you can trust, delivered with empathy at every step.

Here’s our other care law services:

Domestic violence and non-molestation lawyers: As experienced domestic abuse solicitors and legal experts, we are committed to providing pragmatic and non-judgmental advice in high-conflict cases, ensuring our clients receive the support and expertise they need to get legal protection from the courts

Local authority solicitors: Our specialist team act for local authorities in care proceedings, helping you stay on track and in budget. We understand the pressures you face and help you achieve the best outcome. With previous experience in local authorities the team become an extension of your own, delivering results.

To speak to a member of our team, get in touch today by calling 0800 138 0458 or contact us through the website.

How Switalskis can help you

Navigating childcare law is rarely straightforward, but you don't have to face it alone. Here's how we can be by your side, supporting you every step of the way.

can be an emotional and upsetting. They often happen when you're already going through a difficult time. Our solicitors are experts in guiding you through the legal maze, making sure you understand every aspect of the process. They offer sensible and helpful advice and make sure that your voice is heard by the professionals and by the judge.

If child protection agencies are getting involved in your family life, you need to be clear about your rights and responsibilities. With our child protection solicitor team by your side, you'll not only receive expert legal advice from our experienced and skilled legal professionals, but also emotional support tailored to help you and your family through this challenging period.

can be very difficult, both emotionally and legally. You can count on us to walk you through each step, clarifying the legal aspects and making sure you're prepared for every possible outcome. We’re here to make a complicated situation as simple and manageable as possible.

Read what our clients had to say about the help they received from Switalskis

What are child care proceedings?

Child are initiated when social services apply to the court to determine if your child should be legally protected from harm. This could be for several reasons including physical, emotional and sexual harm, and neglect: 

  • Physical harm can include hitting, biting and physical punishment
  • Emotional harm may include threatening behaviour, exposing the child to explicit and scary situations and people, or making the child feel unwanted

Proceedings may also be started when a child is considered beyond parental control.

What is the child care proceedings process?

At the start of care proceedings, the local authority will apply to the family court for an interim order. This is a temporary care order that allows the local authority to take a child(ren) into care while are ongoing. The interim order is usually decided at the first hearing, shortly after the application has been made.

The court will also schedule a case management hearing, which should be held 12-17 days after the application is made to the court. The hearing can take place either before the magistrates, a District Judge or a Circuit Judge. This hearing sets out a timetable of dates for the filing of recommendations and plans about the future of your child(ren). For example, the social workers will tell the court about any work they want to do with you to assess if it’s safe for your child or children to return home or to stay at home. The court will set a date for a further hearing about 4-5 months after the local authority makes its first application to the court.

This hearing is called an issues resolution hearing. The main purpose of this hearing is to let the court know whether the plans for the child(ren) are agreed upon by the parents and the professionals. If a plan is agreed by everyone then the case can conclude at this hearing. If the plan isn’t agreed then the court will be asked to list the case for a final hearing. 

The final hearing is to take place within 6 months of the application being put before the court. A final hearing can be listed for any length of time depending upon how complex your case is. If there is no agreement then it’s at this final hearing that a court will make a final decision about the plan for your child(ren).

Who can Switalskis represent?

Parents and carers

If you have parental responsibility over a child, then it is essential to obtain professional legal advice to make sure that the complexities of proceedings are dealt with properly. Our childcare solicitors have years of experience in representing clients in these types of cases, with a wide and thorough knowledge of this area of law. We understand how stressful and sensitive this time in your life can be. Our team is friendly and understanding and offers the support you need to feel properly represented after your case.

Grandparents and other family members 

If you’re concerned about how your grandchild or a child related to you will be cared for and looked after, our childcare team can help you. We can help if:

  • You wish to be assessed to care for that child
  • You’re caring for a child but aren’t the biological parent
  • You have previously cared for that child
  • The local authority has completed a viability assessment of you/your family
  • You wish to have contact with the child

Although a non-parent is not automatically entitled to legal aid, you may still be eligible for legal aid or local authority funding. Get in touch with our lawyers today if you’re unsure about your financial position.

Children

We can provide specialist representation of children of all ages in cases of this nature and are often called upon by court-appointed guardians to represent the interests of children involved in care proceedings. 

Our specialists are skilled in communicating effectively with children, and we work closely with court-appointed guardians, making sure that proceedings are explained in an age-appropriate way to young clients. 

We’re also instructed by young people in the care system who are looking for independent, straightforward advice.

We’re often called upon to represent the interests of children who have been made a party to private law proceedings under rule 16.3 and 4 of the Family Proceedings Rules. We use our experience and skills from working with young people to make sure that their voices are heard and their views considered by the court.

What outcomes can I expect from a childcare case?

The outcomes from a child care case depend on a variety of factors, for example, the outcome of the parenting assessments or other expert assessments, the circumstances surrounding the child(ren), and what the court deems to be in the child's best interests. Some common outcomes can include:

  • Child arrangement orders: these set out who the child will live with and how they'll spend time with each parent.
  • Supervision orders: to allow the local authority to provide support and supervision for up to a year but the child stays at home.
  • Care orders: the local authority gains parental responsibility for the child and can determine where the child lives, often in a foster home or residential placement, or with relatives.
  • Special guardianship: giving a family member or a person who has a connection with the child responsibility for the child without removing the child’s legal relationship with their biological parents.
  • Adoption: if all the assessments of the parents, the family and connected people are negative, the court will consider adoption as a last resort.

While these outcomes are standard in childcare law, every case has its unique aspects. That's where our expertise comes in. At Switalskis, we aim to guide you through the process, offering clarity and reassurance along the way.

How are cases funded?

Childcare cases often come with emotional turmoil, and the last thing you'd want to worry about is how to pay for the necessary legal support. But you can breathe easy as we’ve got options that could work for you:

  • Legal aid: One common method of funding for childcare law cases is legal aid. If you’re a parent in care proceedings, you are entitled to legal aid regardless of your income. If you’re a family member or friend of the family and meet certain financial criteria and your case has enough merit, you will be eligible for legal aid. It's designed to cover the costs of legal advice, mediation and representation in a court of law. We'll advise you about the information and evidence you will be asked to provide and we’ll make the application to the Legal Aid Agency for you if we think you will qualify.
  • Fixed fees: Knowing what you'll pay upfront can ease your worries. For some services, we offer fixed fees to help you plan and manage your finances better. 
  • Payment plans: If a one-time payment seems too steep, don’t worry. We offer flexible payment plans that make it easier for you to get the legal support you need. Our goal is to make our childcare law services accessible to as many people as possible.

We're transparent about costs and will discuss all your funding options during our initial consultation. It's essential for us that you’re comfortable and well-informed as you go through this challenging period.

To speak to a member of our team, get in touch today by calling 0800 138 0458 or contact us through the website.

FAQs about childcare law

What rights do parents have in childcare cases?

Understanding your rights in childcare cases can be difficult. We're here to guide you through it, providing the expert advice you need. 

You have the right to legal representation. In child care proceedings, it's important to have a solicitor who specialises in child care law to represent your interests. We can help make sure your voice is heard throughout the process.

You also have the right to be kept informed about the case. Authorities must let you know what's happening at every stage of any investigation or proceedings concerning your child. Lack of communication can be both frustrating and disheartening, but we'll make sure that you are kept in the loop.

One key right you possess is to participate fully in the case. You'll be invited to attend all court hearings and meetings related to your child's welfare. Your views matter, and the court will consider your wishes and feelings when making decisions.

Another vital aspect is the right to confidentiality. Court proceedings are now open to the press to attend hearings but the press must respect your anonymity and abide by confidentiality restrictions set by the court.

Lastly, you may have the right to appeal decisions made by the court, although this can be a complex area. This is where our expertise comes into play, guiding you on whether an appeal is possible and how to go about it.

What is a child arrangement order?

A child arrangement order sets out who a child will live and spend time with. Essentially, it aims to provide clarity on the child's living arrangements and the time they'll spend with each parent or other guardians.

You can apply for a child arrangement order through the court, usually when there's a dispute between parents or guardians that can't be resolved amicably. The court's main concern is always the child's best interests, so they'll look at various factors like the child's emotional and physical wellbeing, educational needs, and the potential impact of any change in circumstances.

Unfortunately, there is no legal aid funding to assist you with making an application to the court unless you’re a victim of domestic abuse, or you can show that your child(ren) would be at risk of harm from the other party. However, we can discuss private funding options with you to guide you through the complexities of securing an arrangement that works best for your child(ren).

What is an emergency protection order?

An emergency protection order is a legal tool that can be used by the local authority when there's a belief that a child is in immediate danger. This order allows the child to be temporarily taken into the care of the local authority, usually for up to eight days, although this can be extended.

An emergency protection order is something no one wants to encounter, but when immediate action is needed to make sure a child is safe, it becomes necessary. The court only grants this order if they believe there's a risk of significant harm to the child if they remain in their current environment.

If you're faced with an emergency protection order, we understand how stressful and emotional the situation can be. That's why we're here to help. With our expertise in child care law, we'll guide you through the legal process and support you in understanding your rights and options.

To speak to a member of our team, get in touch today by calling 0800 138 0458 or contact us through the website.

Our Childcare Solicitor Team

photo of Lorrette Law
Lorrette LawDirector and Solicitor Advocate
photo of Ruth Coneron
Ruth ConeronDirector and Solicitor
Razia JogiDirector and Solicitor
photo of Jennifer Heckinbottom
Jennifer HeckingbottomDirector and Solicitor
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Our latest child care updates

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Why Switalskis?

Choosing the right firm for your childcare case is about finding a partner you can trust during a challenging period. So, why Switalskis?

Clarity in complexity

Childcare cases can be intricate and emotionally draining. We simplify what appears complex. We break things down into plain English, giving you clear, actionable advice.

Empathy at every step

We're not just lawyers; we're people who care deeply about the impact of our work on your family. You're more than just a case number to us; you're a person going through an incredibly challenging time. We'll stand by you every step of the way, offering not just legal advice but emotional support as well.

Expertise you can trust

When it comes to childcare law, you need the best. We're experts with a proven track record. Our team is filled with specialists who bring a wealth of experience to your case, offering you the best possible chance for a positive outcome.

Championing your rights

We're committed to your cause. We're not just here to guide you through the legal process; we're here to advocate for you and your family's rights. We bring tenacity and determination to every case, aiming for the best possible outcome while making sure you feel empowered and informed.

Find out how Switalskis can help you

We're here to guide you through the intricacies of childcare law, offering clarity and compassionate support along the way. Contact us today to discover how our expertise can make a real difference in your life. With Switalskis, you're not just hiring solicitors; you're gaining a caring and committed team.

Call us now on 0800 138 0458 or contact us through the website.

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