Blog

Section 7 Reports

23-Jul-2017

A Section 7 is a report about an aspect of your childs welfare that the court may order Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) to write in order to help the judge make a decision regarding contact or residence of a child. ...

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Risk Assessment

23-Jul-2017

Risk is the possibility that an event will occur with harmful outcomes for a particular person or others with whom they come into contact. Risk factors are those things that are identified in the childs circumstances or environment that might co...

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Guide to applying for a court order about the arrangements for your children without the help of a lawyer

05-Jul-2016

This guide is for you if you are a parent and you disagree with your childs other parent or other family members about things like: where your child lives, who they live with and when, how often they see the parent they dont live with most of the ...

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Can you change your childs surname?

05-Jul-2016

A mother, or father, cannot change a childs surname by herself or himself unless she or he is the only person with parental responsibility. Even then if the other parent objects a Court Order should be made. Any child who has sufficient legal un...

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Conflicts of interest

05-Jul-2016

Expert witnesses have a duty to the court to be independent and objective in the evidence they provide. Judges may, in the exercise of their discretion, reject altogether evidence tendered by experts whom they know to have or suspect of having a fi...

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Parents with Learning Disabilities.

05-Jul-2016

Where there are concerns that parents / carers have a learning disability, the PAM (Parenting Assessment Manual) should be undertaken by a social worker trained in using this assessment tool. If this assessment concludes that the parents / carers do...

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Local Authorities Duty to Consult

05-Jul-2016

It is important to note that, even though under a care order the LA is in the driving seat, they cannot ignore the other passengers, the LA MUST consult with and inform other PR holders about important decisions they make for the child and they have...

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Recording Social Workers

01-Sep-2015

Prepare to be very shocked. And then very angry. At the Transparency Project Conference in June 2015, a question was asked about whether parents should be allowed to tape record discussions and conversations. Social work can involve an imba...

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For the parent in court today (Private Proceedings)

31-Aug-2015

First of all, dont panic. If you stay calm, put forward reasonable proposals, and ensure your proposals are based upon your childs needs you shouldnt come out too badly. Keep to the important points, dont be unnecessarily combative, dont be aggressi...

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Tips of making handover regarding contact between children and non resident parent work.

31-Aug-2015

Handovers are where you are picking the kids up from your former partner to spend time with you, or when you are dropping them off again. They can be one of the few times that some separated parents, particularly those that have had a high conflict ...

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Trying to make contact work without a court order

31-Aug-2015

It is important not to use the time your children spend with your ex as a bargaining tool. You may no longer be partners, but you are forever parents, and your children need you to co-parent even if you no longer live together. Ways to help mak...

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Preparation for Contested Hearings

31-Aug-2015

If you find yourself in a disagreement which goes before the court, you may need to attend a contested hearing. What happens at a contested hearing? During the hearing, each party gets the chance to argue their position and present their cas...

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Cafcass Safeguarding Checks

31-Aug-2015

If you issue an application in the Family Court then you will undoubtedly have some contact with a CAFCASS officer. Initially they will contact you to carry out what are known as Safeguarding Checks. This means that they will ask you for you details...

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Section 37 Report

31-Aug-2015

A Section 37 investigation is an enquiry in to a childs circumstances by a Social Worker. When is a Section 37 investigation necessary? Under section 37 of the Children Act 1989 a court may direct a local authority to investigate a childs ci...

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Access to school records

31-Aug-2015

Local education authorities and schools must keep information on each pupils educational progress. They may also keep a record of other information, for example, about the pupils medical history, family background, personality and predictions of fut...

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Applying for a court order

31-Aug-2015

This guide is for you if you are a parent and you disagree with your childs other parent or other family members about things like: where your child lives, who they live with and when, how often they see the parent they dont live with most of the ...

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Powers available to the Court

31-Aug-2015

Investigative: Appointment of a CAFCASS Officer Appointment of a Guardian-ad-Litem to represent the child's bests interests and 'ascertainable' wishes and feelings Appointment of an Expert (psychologist), and psychological assessments of the pare...

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First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA)

31-Aug-2015

Before the first hearing. In some cases you may be told to do something before you go to court for the first hearing; if so you will receive an order from the court. For example, you may have to provide a summary explaining what progress you and ...

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Prohibited Steps Order

30-Aug-2015

What is a Prohibited Steps Order? At times, you may wish to prevent your ex-partner carrying out an act in respect of your child, such as leaving the country or taking them to a specific location. Usually, such incidents happen as an emergency and...

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Outcome of section 47 enquiries:

30-Aug-2015

Childrens Childrens Social Care/Disabled Childrens Service social workers are responsible for deciding what action to take and how to proceed following section 47 enquiries. If Childrens Social Care/Disabled Childrens Service decides not to proc...

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Issue Resolution Hearings

30-Aug-2015

Issue Resolution Hearings (IRH) are sometimes referred to as pre-hearing review. At this hearing, the court will see if any agreement can be reached by everybody involved in the case (for example about where your child should live in the long te...

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Care Proceedings glossary

30-Aug-2015

Care proceedings are complex. With any sufficiently complex subject, terminology has to be developed to effectively communicate about the subject. Care Proceedings are no different, particularly as the care proceedings process is constantly evolving...

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Specific Issue Orders

30-Aug-2015

Specific Issue Orders, much like the name suggests, are orders sought from the family court to determine a particular matter in connection with the exercise of Parental Responsibility. These orders can cover a wide range of issues that you and your ...

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C1a Allegations of harm and domestic violence (Supplemental information form)

30-Aug-2015

The Court: Put the name of the Court you will apply to, for instance "Liverpool County Court". If you are not sure which court to put, ask the family section of your local County Court. The full name(s) of the Give all the names of the children ...

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A53 Form (Post Adoption Contact)

30-Aug-2015

Application for a contact order Section 26 Adoption and Children Act 2002 This form is for use only if you are applying for a contact order under Section 26 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 or an order under section 51A of the Act. If yo...

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FP2 Form

30-Aug-2015

Application notice Part 18 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010; Notes on completion Your name(s) Enter your full name (in the case of two applicants, the full name of both applicants), surname last. Your address If you do not want your address t...

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C79 enforcement of a contact order

30-Aug-2015

If a person has failed to comply with a contact order you may wish to ask the court to use its powers to enforce the contact order. Where a contact order has been breached without reasonable excuse, you may apply to the court to: Impose a community...

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N161 (Appeal Form)

30-Aug-2015

Please note form N161 is to be used for fast track and multi-track cases and statutory appeals from tribunals and other outside bodies only. You have 21 days to lodge an appeal or ask permission to appeal. Details of the claim or case you are a...

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Local Authority Documentation to be Filed with the Court

30-Aug-2015

The following documents must be attached to the application filed with the court on Day 1: The social work Chronology; The social work statement and Genogram; Any current Assessment relating to the child and/or the family and friends of the...

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Scott Schedule

30-Aug-2015

A Scott Schedule is a table used to help the Court and the parties see clearly what allegations are being made and what the response is to each. This helps the Court to analyse whether a fact finding hearing is actually necessary and ensures that if...

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Multi-Agency Professionals Meetings

30-Aug-2015

Purpose A multi-agency professionals meeting (MAPM) is a tool to support practitioners in all agencies who have a genuine desire to work openly and together with families, but who may need the opportunity to talk with other professionals without th...

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What Happens in a Child Protection Enquiry

30-Aug-2015

Parents say that when social workers first knock on their door to investigate a concern they have received about a child that this can be a frightening, stressful and traumatic time. Parents have asked for more support and advice about their rights ...

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Initial Child Protection Conference

30-Aug-2015

1. Threshold for Convening an Initial Child Protection Conference An Initial Child Protection Conference should be held where a child may be suffering, or likely to suffer, Significant Harm and may also be considered when: A Child Assessment Ord...

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The stages of care proceedings

30-Aug-2015

The aim of recent government reforms in 2014 is to speed up care proceedings. There are now three stages in the court process; Stage 1 the application is issued by the local authority (LA) and allocated to the appropriate court. This takes 2 days....

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Time Scale of Proceedings in Public Law

30-Aug-2015

Part of the concerns raised by the Family Justice Review was the time scale of proceedings in the family court, and the effect damaging delays had upon the children concerned. The new Children and Families Act has addressed this matter; but for the ...

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Initiating section 47 enquiries:

30-Aug-2015

A section 47 enquiry is carried out by undertaking or continuing with an assessment in accordance with the guidance set out in this chapter and following the principles and parameters of a good assessment. Childrens Social Care/Disabled Childrens S...

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PLO (pre-proceedings meeting)

30-Aug-2015

When social workers are concerned about the welfare of a child, they may be thinking about taking the case to court so that they can ask the court to make orders to protect the child. In most cases the Public Law Outline requires the social serv...

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pre-birth assessment

30-Aug-2015

The main purpose of a pre-birth assessment is to identify: What the needs of and risks to the newborn child may be; Whether the parent/s are capable of recognising these and working with; Professionals so that the needs can be met and t...

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Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

30-Aug-2015

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a process for gathering and recording information about a child for whom a practitioner has concerns in a standard format, identifying the needs of the child and how the needs can be met. It is a shared asses...

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Core Assessments

30-Aug-2015

A Core Assessment is an in depth assessment and should be completed within a maximum of 35 working days. It must be led by a qualified and experienced social worker, (in accordance with the Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their Fam...

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Keeping to the Agreement

30-Aug-2015

Following the Pre Proceedings Meeting, an official agreement will be drawn up, outlining what you have agreed with the local authority needs to be done in order to look after your child better. This agreement is a formal document laying down what yo...

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Threshold Criteria

30-Aug-2015

The Threshold Criteria for a Care Order or a Supervision Order, as outlined in Section 31 of the Children Act 1989 is that a court may only make a Care Order or Supervision Order if it is satisfied that: The Children are suffering or likely to su...

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Home visit from social worker

30-Aug-2015

When social workers first come knocking on your door it is almost certainly because they believe your child or children may be in some form of danger. Their reasons for thinking this can be from a number of sources - a malicious telephone call f...

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EPO (Emergency Protection Order)

30-Aug-2015

An EPO is an order made under Section 44 of the Children Act 1989 enabling a child to either be removed to a place of safety or to be kept where he or she is as a means of providing immediate short-term protection EPOs are considered to be highly dr...

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EX160a (Fee Exemption Form)

30-Aug-2015

You will receive a full fee remission if you receive one of the means tested benefits listed below: Income-based Jobseekers Allowance Income-related Employment and Support Allowance Income Support Universal Credit with gross annual earnings of l...

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Going to court: A parents perspective

30-Aug-2015

What happens in court? Its stressful so be prepared. For many people care proceedings are the first time they have been in court . They may have an idea from watching courtroom dramas on TV , after a couple of hearings they quickly realise that t...

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Skeleton Arguement

30-Aug-2015

A skeleton argument is a document produced for court to present the basics of your argument before court proceedings begin. As this is the first chance for the judge to consider your case, it is important to ensure it is a well written document sett...

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Legal Planning Meetings:

30-Aug-2015

Before a decision can be made to initiate Care or Supervision Proceedings, a Legal Planning Meeting should be held. At the Legal Planning Meeting, a decision will be made in principle about whether the Threshold Criteria have been met and whethe...

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Secure Accommodation Orders

30-Aug-2015

secure accommodation by local authorities is dealt with by section 25 of the Children Act 1989 and the Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991. A child who is being looked after by a local authority by being provided with accommodatio...

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Parental Responsibility Order

30-Aug-2015

Parental responsibility (PR) in family law is a legal status derived from the Children Act 1989. You may be quite rightly regarded as a responsible parent by a host of organisations, even singly responsible for your childs daily care, but at the sam...

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Special Guardianship Order (SGO)

30-Aug-2015

The Children Act 2002 introduced a new legal status for non-parents who are caring for or wish to care for children in a long term, secure placement whilst preserving the legal link with the childs natural birth parents. A Special Guardianship Order...

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Dictionary of what things mean:

30-Aug-2015

A Abridged Notice: In the context of family law proceedings, reducing the time requirement for parties to be notified of a court hearing, to speed matters being heard by a judge. Abridged Hearing: A hearing before a court with shortened or no n...

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Viability Assessments

30-Aug-2015

Viability assessments are usually conducted by friends and family social workers in the Local Authority family placement service or by sessional workers commissioned by the team manager. In exceptional circumstances locality workers may need to cond...

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Medical Assessment Re: Child Protection

30-Aug-2015

Where the child appears in urgent need of medical attention (s)he should be taken to the nearest A & E department, regardless of age, explanation or any other factors e.g. where there are suspected fractures, bleeding, and loss of consciousness. ...

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Barring orders under section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989

30-Aug-2015

A barring order is a court order to bar or prevent a claimant from making "vexatious" applications. The definition of vexatious is where a person brings action against someone without any winning argument and they simply want to cause frustration to...

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Referral to social services

30-Aug-2015

Referrals to social services can happen in a number of ways. You can request help yourself by calling your local social services..... Referrals can be made by other professionals who are working with your family or children, including schools, G...

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Police Protection Order (Powers)

30-Aug-2015

The Police have powers under Section 46 of the Children Act 1989 to protect children. If a police constable believes that a child is at risk of suffering significant harm in a particular situation then he may exercise powers under this Act to remov...

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Child Supervision Order

30-Aug-2015

A Child Supervision Order allows the Local Authority to assist and befriend the parents of the child and support them in providing appropriate parenting for the child. This often applies to cases where the parents need extra support and guidance in ...

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Statement format

30-Aug-2015

HERE ARE SOME GENERAL GUIDELINES ABOUT WHAT A GOOD STATEMENT SHOULD FEATURE. 1. Perfect spelling and grammar. If you do not have these skills and even if you do ALWAYS get at least one person to proof read your statement before submitting it. Spe...

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Criteria for Initial Assessments

30-Aug-2015

Following a referral to Children's Social Care there are 5 decisions that can be made at the referral stage: That No Further Action is necessary; That an Initial Assessment (IA) is required; That a Child Protection Enquiry (S.47) is required; Th...

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What is the legal definition of a child in need?

30-Aug-2015

Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 defines a child as being in need in law if: He or she is unlikely to achieve or maintain or to have the opportunity to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development without provision of servi...

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Families are important to children

30-Aug-2015

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can all play an important role in nurturing children. While parents are responsible for caring for their children and making sure their needs are met, the wider family ca...

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C8 form

30-Aug-2015

Confidential contact details The omitted contact details This form is to be used by any party in Family Proceedings who does not wish to reveal their contact details (private address, telephone number, email etc.) or the contact details of any c...

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C100 Family Court Application Form (Child Arrangement Order)

30-Aug-2015

ESSENTIAL information for your C100 form Page 1 The full name(s) of the children in the proceedings; Their date(s) of birth; Their gender; The applicant´s relationship to the child(ren); The respondent´s relationship to the child(ren). Pa...

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Public Law Outline - time line

30-Aug-2015

Week -3 Legal Planning Meeting - agree threshold met and to start PLO...Sw and their Managers........... Week -2 Write to parent(s) to formally invite them to PLO meeting, including advice on obtaining their own legal representation.. Week -1 Draw...

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Care Orders - section 31 Children Act 1989

30-Aug-2015

These orders are usually sought by a local authority (although the NSPCC can bring proceedings it is extremely rare for them to do so) in respect of children who they believe are suffering or are likely to suffer significant harm and: a) the harm...

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Family Assistance Order

30-Aug-2015

Under section 16 of the Children Act 1989 the court may make a family assistance order. This can last for up to twelve months and is designed to give expert help to families, particularly where there has been separation or divorce. Family assistance...

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Child Assessment Orders

30-Aug-2015

A Child Assessment order is available for the local authorities to apply when leading an investigation into the Welfare, health and development of a Child. A Child Assessment order will be the first step when an authority is considering issuing a se...

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The importance of good advice

30-Aug-2015

If social services are involved with your family or wanting to remove your children one thing you need is sound advice. There is lots of information out there on the internet, but not all advice is good advice, and general guidance does not always t...

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Non-molestation orders

30-Aug-2015

Non-molestation orders are a civil court order designed to protect people from domestic violence. They are designed to prevent an abuser from molesting the applicant for the order, and can in some circumstances be used to protect their children as w...

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Documents for court

15-Apr-2014

To prepare any statement is a challenge and to prepare one concerning the future of a child is hugely intimidating. Anyone who has been to court has read them. Modern statements contain less Latin and legalese jargon in order not to exclude the lay ...

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