Scenario: A concern has been raised about the safety and welfare of your child. You have been told that you should enable safeguarding and stop contact with the other parent.
What should you do, and where do you stand legally?
Most often, but not always, a request for safeguarding comes from the local authority social services.
It is essential to understand that Children and Family Services make these requests of a parent; however, it has no legal standing.
Parents who summarily stop their children from going to the other parent can find themselves in troublesome situations.
The local authority stands back and says, ‘It is the parent's right and obligation to apply safeguarding, if they feel it is necessary, to protect the children’.
Usually, the request comes in because of concerns, but an assessment has not yet been carried out or concluded.
If the local authority deems that the concerns are so significant, they have the option to place a child in care and begin proceedings immediately.
Otherwise, assessments take 45-plus days to complete. And then, if there are findings, they have processes they can invoke, such as placing a child on a child-in-need plan. Alternatively, they can arrange a child protection conference, the outcome of which could find your child put onto a child protection plan.
None of this is quick or straightforward.
From a legal standpoint, if you are minded to safeguard your child from the other parent, the process should be placed into the hands of the Family Court.
This is the correct and appropriate procedure.
The concerned parent should file a C100 child arrangements order application for an ‘urgent’ hearing. And the grounds for the safeguarding should be listed on the application and any other issues you want the court to consider, such as a prohibited steps, specific issue or non-molestation order.
If you are already within #ChildArrangements court proceedings –
Unless you are on welfare benefits, you will have to pay a filing fee to the court of £215.00.
McKenzie Law Partners can assist you in filing your ‘urgent’ application. You can book an appointment with us online - the initial appointment is free #ParalegalAdvocate.