Request a Callback

Can Social Services remove my child from my care?

Concerned About Child Removal? Understand Your Legal Stand with Hopkins Solicitors.

The prospect of child removal is daunting and deeply emotional. The Children’s Act 1989 lays the foundation for child welfare, but navigating the legalities can be complex. Hopkins Solicitors stands with you to demystify the legal process, clarify misconceptions, and protect your rights.

How Can Hopkins Solicitors Assist You?

  • Expert Legal Framework Knowledge: Our solicitors are well-versed in the Children’s Act 1989 and can expertly guide you through the legal maze.
  • Comprehensive Guidance: We provide compassionate support and thorough legal advice on various court orders and their implications for your family.
  • Empowerment Through Understanding: We ensure you are fully informed on all aspects of child removal, from emergency procedures to voluntary care options, giving you control over your decisions.

Don’t face child removal proceedings alone. Hopkins Solicitors offers expert guidance and legal support to navigate these challenging times and secure the best outcome for your child and family.

Take action now. Arm yourself with knowledge and expert legal support.

Request a Callback

Legal Framework

The Children’s Act 1989

The legal foundation for child welfare cases in the UK is the Children’s Act 1989. This pivotal piece of legislation ensures that the welfare and best interests of the child are paramount. It sets out the framework for how decisions regarding children should be made, emphasising the importance of keeping children within their families where it’s safe and appropriate. The Act governs the actions of social services, courts, and parents alike, providing a robust framework to assess and decide when removal from parental care is justified.

Understanding Court Orders

In child welfare cases, the court can issue a variety of orders, each with distinct implications. These include Emergency Protection Orders, Supervision Orders, and Care Orders. Understanding the purpose and implications of these orders is crucial, as they define the level of involvement social services have in your child’s life. Navigating this legal terrain can be daunting, but with the right knowledge, you can make informed decisions to protect your child’s well-being.

Common Reasons for Child Removal

Abuse Types

Child removal by social services is most commonly prompted by situations involving different types of abuse. This can include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. The welfare of the child is always the central concern in these cases. Social services investigate allegations of abuse to ensure the child’s safety, but removal is typically a last resort when the child’s well-being is in immediate jeopardy.

Neglect and Medical Neglect

Neglect cases can encompass various forms, such as failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care. Medical neglect occurs when a child’s health or medical needs are unmet, potentially placing their life at risk. While social services aim to provide support to struggling families, persistent or severe neglect may lead to child removal in the interest of the child’s welfare.

Parental Incarceration and Illness

If a parent is incarcerated, the care of their child may fall into question. Similarly, serious parental illness or mental health issues that prevent a parent from adequately caring for their child can result in social services stepping in. The goal in these situations is to safeguard the child’s welfare while addressing the parental challenges, such as facilitating visits when possible and appropriate. Social services aim to strike a balance between the child’s needs and the parent’s’ situation.

The Process of Child Removal

Immediate Concerns for Child Safety

In cases where a child’s immediate safety is at risk, social services may need to act swiftly. This can include situations where there’s a real and immediate threat of harm to the child, such as in cases of severe abuse or neglect. The primary focus is on safeguarding the child, and in such situations, child removal might be considered a necessary step to ensure their safety.

Emergency Procedures

When social services have serious concerns about a child’s safety and welfare, they have the authority to apply for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) from the court. An EPO grants them temporary custody of the child to protect them from immediate harm. These orders are usually granted for a very short period, but they provide time for a thorough assessment and planning for the child’s future.

Voluntary Care Options

In less severe cases, where the child’s immediate safety is not at risk, social services may discuss voluntary care options with the parents or caregivers. This allows the child to be cared for without the need for court orders or removal. It can provide an opportunity for parents to work with social services to address any concerns and create a safe environment for their child. These voluntary care arrangements are designed to balance the child’s welfare with parental involvement.

Request a Callback

What Happens Next?

Child in Need Plan vs Child Protection Plan

Following concerns about a child’s welfare, social services may develop a plan to address the child’s needs. There are two primary types of plans: Child in Need (CIN) Plan and Child Protection (CP) Plan.

A Child in Need Plan is typically put in place when social services believe that support is needed to help improve a child’s situation, but there’s no immediate risk of harm. This plan aims to provide necessary assistance to the family to address their difficulties, but it doesn’t involve removing the child from their home.

On the other hand, a Child Protection Plan is devised when there are significant concerns about a child’s safety. This plan is more intensive and may involve removal if the child’s safety can’t be guaranteed within the family home. Social workers will closely monitor the child and their family to ensure their safety and well-being.

Pre-proceedings Meetings

In some cases, social services may initiate pre-proceedings meetings. These meetings are an opportunity to work closely with parents to address concerns and make necessary changes without resorting to court proceedings. It’s a stage where families can demonstrate their commitment to addressing the issues and providing a safe environment for the child.

Care Proceedings

If concerns persist and it’s believed that the child remains at risk, social services may consider starting care proceedings. This is a legal process that can lead to court orders, including supervision orders, care orders, or placement orders, depending on the circumstances. These measures are put in place to ensure the child’s safety and well-being while maintaining the child’s best interests at the forefront. Parents should seek legal advice and support during these proceedings to protect their rights and ensure the best outcome for their child/children.

Request a Callback

How Solicitors Can Help

The Role of Hopkins Solicitors

At Hopkins Solicitors, we understand that facing child removal proceedings is an incredibly distressing experience for any family. Our dedicated family and childcare law team is here to provide the guidance, support, and legal expertise you need during this challenging time. We advocate for your rights and work tirelessly to ensure the best outcome for your family. Our experienced solicitors can explain the legal process in clear, accessible terms, empowering you to make informed decisions.

Legal Aid and Representation

It’s important to note that legal aid may be available to parents involved in child removal cases.

Working with Social Services

Our experienced solicitors have a wealth of experience working with social services. We can help bridge the gap between you and social workers, facilitating communication and negotiation. Our aim is to reach the best solution for your family, ensuring that your child’s safety and well-being are at the forefront of the process.

Media and Public Opinion: Misconceptions and Realities

Child removal proceedings are highly complex and subject to public and media attention, which can oversimplify the nuances of these cases, leading to misconceptions. The reality is that the focus of social services and involved agencies is the welfare and best interests of the child. Child removal isn’t a hasty decision but follows a meticulous, legally regulated process aimed at ensuring the child’s safety, well-being, and protection.

This process entails comprehensive assessments, evaluations, and consultations involving social workers, medical experts, and sometimes legal authorities. It takes into account the unique circumstances of each case, recognising the individuality of the child’s needs and family situations. The primary objective is to make decisions that create the safest and most supportive environment for the child.

Solicitors play a crucial role in this process by safeguarding the rights and interests of parents and caregivers. They ensure the proper legal procedures are followed and advocate for parents, providing a voice in these proceedings to represent their perspective.

Request a Callback


It’s important to address the various aspects and misconceptions surrounding these cases. Public scrutiny and media portrayals can sometimes oversimplify, leading to misunderstandings. The truth is that the primary goal of social services is to ensure the safety and welfare of the child involved. Child removal isn’t an arbitrary decision; it follows a rigorous, legally regulated process aimed at securing the child’s well-being and protection.

This process takes into account the specific circumstances of each case, acknowledging the individuality of the child’s needs and family situations. Solicitors are essential in this context, advocating for parents and caregivers to ensure that their rights and interests are protected during the proceedings.

At Hopkins Solicitors, we understand the intricacies and sensitivities surrounding child removal cases. Our mission is to support you through these challenging situations, providing professional guidance, and safeguarding your rights as a parent or caregiver. We’re here to help you navigate this complex process, ensuring the best possible outcome for you and your child.


Can social services remove my child without my consent?

No, social services cannot remove your child from your care without valid reasons and due process. Child removal is a complex legal procedure that typically requires court orders, and it is only considered when there are concerns about the child’s safety and well-being.

What are some common reasons for child removal by social services?

Common reasons include various forms of abuse, neglect, medical neglect, or when a child’s safety is at risk due to parental incarceration or illness. However, the decision is always based on a careful assessment of the individual case.

Can I have legal representation during child removal proceedings?

Yes, you have the right to legal representation during child removal proceedings. Solicitors play a crucial role in safeguarding your rights and ensuring that the process is followed correctly.

How can I apply for legal aid to get legal representation?

You can apply for legal aid to get legal representation by contacting legal aid providers or solicitors who offer such services. The availability and eligibility for legal aid depend on your financial circumstances and the specific details of your case.

What should I do if social services are involved in my family's life?

If social services become involved in your family’s life, it’s important to cooperate and engage constructively. Seek legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities. Legal professionals can guide you through the process, ensuring your voice is heard and your child’s best interests are protected.

Request a Callback

"*" indicates required fields

Preferred Method of Communication*
Per GDPR regulations, if you opt in to receive communication from Hopkins Solicitors, you will only receive information about your enquiry, your case or information about our services and products that are relevant to you. We do not share your information with any third parties. Please opt-in by ticking the boxes below.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


  • 5 Stars

    Had a good experience with Hopkins Solicitors. My solicitor was always there with updates and if he wasn’t available his secretary was. Very polite people to talk too. The costs were very reasonable, on the whole I would recommend Hopkins solicitors to everybody including family and friends

    , 31st August 2022

  • 5 Stars

    My expectations were far exceeded when dealing with Ross and his team recently. The service I received was of the highest standard. I was treated with respect, courtesy and professionalism at a very difficult time. Thank you Ross, you are a credit to Hopkins.

    , 31st August 2022

Related Articles

  1. Care proceedings Court of Appeal win

    Care proceedings Court of Appeal win

    Hopkins Solicitors (instructed for the children) have acted in the recent Court of Appeal case of Re P and E…

  2. Have you received a letter from Social Services?

    Have you received a letter from Social Services?

    What to do when you receive a letter before proceedings? A letter before proceedings is usually sent to a parent…