Care proceedings and adoption

Children’s services

What is Children’s Services?

Children’s Services is the team of people in social services who work with children and families. Their job is to keep children and young people safe, and support families to keep their children well looked after. Each local authority has a Children’s Services team.

Children’s Services can provide families with extra help to care for their children or, where children are at risk of being harmed, they will take steps to make sure the children are safe. This can include placing children in foster care, for short term or long term, if the family is unable to look after them.

You can read more about Children’s Services in An introductory guide to Children’s Services, written by the Family Rights Group.

Why are Children’s Services involved with my family?

Children’s Services will only become involved with your family if they are worried that your child has suffered or may suffer significant harm.

If Children’s Services are told that your children may be at risk of harm, by law they have to find out if it is true.

Anyone including you, a member of your family, a teacher or a doctor, can speak to Children’s Services if they are worried about your child. Once someone has told them they are worried about your child, Children’s Services have a duty to look into it.

Children’s Services will let you know if they are told that your children may be at risk.

Are they going to take my children away?

Children’s Services can only remove your children from your care if you agree or a court orders your child’s removal.  The police can also remove your child from you, for a short period of time, if they think it is not safe for your child to remain with you.

What can I do?

The most important thing you can do is co-operate. If the social worker cannot talk to you they can’t decide whether any reports about your care of your children are true. If you decide not to co-operate, they may get suspicious and if they are very worried they can ask a judge to allow them to take your children away from you.

Citizens Advice has some really useful information on how to deal with Children’s Services.


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Child Protection Plan

Information about what a Child Protection Plan is and how they work.

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Section 20 Agreements

Information about what Section 20 Agreements are and how they work.

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Court orders in care proceedings

A court order is the decision made by the court setting out what must happen (what the court orders you to do). When Children’s Services starts legal proceedings it needs to decide what order (or decision) it wants the court to make. There are a number of different orders it can apply for.