Child Protection and Care Proceedings 

If Children’s Services and the Local Authority are worried about the safety and welfare of a child, they may decide to become involved with the family and in some cases apply to the Court. 

Understanding Child Protection Measures  

  • Initial Assessment – This first assessment should be undertaken by Children’s Services and the Local Authority within 7 days of concerns being raised.  If Children’s Services consider that no further action is required, the matter will conclude.  If further investigation is needed, the matter will progress to Core Assessment 
  •  Core Assessment – This assessment should be undertaken within 35 days.  It may include Children’s Services obtaining advice or information about you and your family from other professionals, such as doctors, to enable them to understand your situation more fully. 
  • S47 Assessment – If Children’s Services consider that your child may be at risk of significant harm, a full assessment will take place.  The Core Assessment will form part of this.  This investigation may involve Children’s Services wanting to speak with your child alone. 
  • Child in need meetings (CIN) – Children’s Services may assess your family and decide that your child is in need.  Meetings may be arranged to discuss any support that is needed and monitor your child’s progress 
  • Child Protection Conference – A meeting to discuss whether your child should be the subject of a Child Protection Plan.  Various professionals who have a connection with you and your family will be asked to attend, such as your GP, health visitor, representatives from schools and the police.  A social worker allocated to your child will also attend.  The meeting is chaired by an independent reviewing officer (IRO), who is a member of the Local Authority.  The IRO will consider whether a Plan is required and will identify any concerns, such as Neglect, Emotional Harm, Physical Harm and/or Sexual Harm.  Once the decision has been made that a Child Protection Plan is required, further Child Protection meetings will be scheduled on a 3 monthly and thereafter 6 monthly basis.  At each subsequent meeting, the matter will be reviewed and a decision will be made as to whether the Plan is still required. 
  • Core Group Meeting-  Interspersed with Child Protection Conferences, there will also be more frequent Core Group meetings.  These will normally be attended by you and the Social Worker and any other key individuals.  The meeting is designed to review progress and to consider ongoing support or concerns. 
  • Letter Before Proceedings (PLO) – This is the stage before Court proceedings.  The Local Authority will ask you to attend a meeting with a Solicitor and will try to work with you and your family, to improve the situation.   
  • Care and Supervision Order – If, Children’s Services and the Local Authority believe that a child is suffering or likely to suffer harm as a result of the care they are receiving and in particular if they feel that lesser Child Protection measures as set out above have not been successful, they may decide to apply to the Court.  These proceedings are known as Care and Supervision Proceedings.  


The Next Steps 

If you are a parent and you have received a Letter Before Proceedings, also known as a PLO letter from Children Services you are entitled to legal aid and free legal advice, including support to attend meetings. 

If you are a parent and you have received paperwork from Children’s Services that says they are making or have made an application to Court for a Care or Supervision Order, you are entitled to legal aid and free legal advice to help you with the Court case. 

In some circumstances, Legal Aid is also available to other family members who may be involved in the Court case. 

If you are notified by Children’s Services of their intention to apply for Care or Supervision Orders, we recommend that you immediately instruct a Solicitor. At Hepburn Delaney we have a dedicated team who work with parents and children who are dealing with these matters and we are here to help.   

To contact us, please: 

Call us on 01442 218090 and ask to speak to one of our Specialist Care and Child Protection Solicitors 

Send an email to 


The Next Steps

If you are notified by Children’s Services of their intention to apply for Care or Supervision Orders, we recommend that you immediately instruct a Solicitor to assist you and to represent you at the Court hearings. At Hepburn Delaney, we have a specialist team of Lawyers and support staff dealing with Child Protection and Public Law proceedings including Care and Supervision order applications.

If you have any queries regarding Child Custody, please do not hesitate to contact us. Feel free to call us on 01442 218090, send an email to or fill out our enquiry form and speak to one of our Child Custody Solicitors today.

Working with a family business

Hepburn Delaney was established in 2013 by Jane Hepburn and Rebecca Delaney who had worked together for several years before deciding to set up a specialist family law practice. Our intention has always been to provide a niche, bespoke service to clients seeking advice on a broad range of family matters and we remain committed to this approach.


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