Q&A - Are the Local Authority using COVID-19 as an excuse to keep my son in care?

Q:  I recently agreed to my son going into care because I couldn’t cope. It was only meant to be short term until I got well again. Now I think social services are using the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to delay him being allowed to come back home to live with me. I haven’t been able to visit him because of the lockdown rules. I can only speak to him on the phone, and when I do it’s clear that he is traumatised by not being able to see me and he thinks this is how it’s going to be for ever. This is going to make me ill again. What can I do?

A:  In the fifteen years I have been acting for parents whose children are the subject of care orders I have never come across so many dire situations as I have during the coronavirus pandemic of the last three months.

Government guidance published at the beginning of April highlighted the dangers of potential traumatic consequences for children in care, particularly with regard to contact arrangements. The advice for Local Authorities and Social Services was that contact arrangements “should be assessed on a case-by-case basis taking into account a range of factors including social distancing guidance and the needs of the child”.

Whilst face to face contact may not generally be possible at the moment, it is essential that children who are the subject of care proceedings are reassured by the professionals responsible for them. If you are concerned about your son being traumatised and have been unable to have a meaningful conversation with the Local Authority to ease your concerns, you should make an appointment to see a family solicitor who specialises in Child Law and who can advise you on the best steps to take.  

Article 15/06/2020

This question has been answered by Nathan Wright a Partner with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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Natalie Roberts

Natalie Roberts

Partner

A Partner and Part of our Family and Matrimonial and Mental Health team in Wrexham

Nathan Wright

Nathan Wright

Partner

A Partner specialising in Family and Matrimonial Law