What Is A Pre-Proceedings Meeting?
Pre-proceedings are when the Local Authority are concerned about the care provided to your child/ren and they will serve you with a letter to notify you that they are escalating to pre-proceedings and invite you to a meeting to discuss the concerns.
Pre-proceedings are the final step the local authority takes before deciding to issue care proceedings in respect of a child/ren.
The aim of this process is to try and intervene and help families before there is a need to make an application to the court which might involve taking a child or children into social services care.
The purpose of the pre-proceedings process is to allow you to engage with the local authority and achieve a positive outcome, it is better to work with the local authority.
What Happens At A Pre-Proceedings Meeting?
When you are invited to a pre-proceeding meeting you will be asked to seek legal advice and a legal representative will attend the meeting with you.
The social worker will run through the concerns, and they will discuss what is expected of you to ensure the child/ren needs are being met. They will also discuss any support that can be put in place to help you.
Generally, the local authority will outline what assessments are required and you will be asked to nominate alternative carers to be assessed.
Those people will then be assessed, and their assessments held on file should the matter escalate to Court.
Once this has been agreed a review date will be arranged so we can return and review the progress that has been made.
Is Funding Available?
Any parent who is subject to the Pre-Proceedings Process is entitled to legal help to cover the cost of your representation. All you have to do is provide a copy of the letter inviting you to the meeting.
Bell Lamb & Joynson Can Help You
At this stage, the local authority is concerned about the care provided to your child/ren that they are considering making an application to Court for a Care Order.
A care Order gives the local authority parental responsibility for your child/ren and this would enable them to make decisions about the care and even where they shall live.
The pre-proceedings process gives you the opportunity to make changes and work with the local authority to avoid Court proceedings being issued.
It is therefore very important you work with the local authority at this stage as it will be the last chance to show you can make and sustain changes to improve the care provided to the child/ren.
If you need legal advice about a pre-proceedings meeting you have been asked to attend, then contact our team of family experts.