The Letter Before Proceedings will ask you to attend a Pre-Proceedings Meeting. You will be provided with the date, time and venue for this meeting. It is here you will get to discuss with the local authority their concerns over the welfare of your child.
It is important that having received a Letter Before Proceedings, you contact a Care Proceedings Solicitor who can accompany you to the Pre-Proceedings Meeting to help you to negotiate with the local authority to try and prevent an application for care proceedings being made to the Court
Several people from the local authority may be present at the meeting:
- Your child’s social worker
- The manager of your local authority’s children’s services
- A local authority solicitor
- Your solicitor should be there with you
The Pre-Proceedings Meeting is important as it is your chance to show you are willing to fight to keep your child.
By the time of this meeting being held a number of stages will have been gone through by the local authority in terms of them assessing the risk to the children and deciding what action to take.
What Occurs at the Pre-proceedings Meeting?
It’s important that you understand the concerns that the local authority are voicing about the wellbeing of your child because you must agree to make changes to the circumstances causing them concern. If you don’t agree to make such changes as to how your child is looked after, the local authority may ask a court for permission to take your child into care.
In the meeting, you will:
- Have to answer questions about the way you look after your child and the concerns that the local authority have about the care that you are giving to your children
- Be asked if you agree with the suggestions your local authority make about how to change the way you look after your child. You may prefer your solicitor to answer some of the questions for you. They can also say how you want to change the way you look after your child and any other ideas you think will help.
Your local authority will normally send you and your solicitor an agenda for the meeting. This will say what the local authority wants to talk about. You must read carefully what your local authority has said in the letter about why they think your child is not being looked after properly or is out of control so that you can be prepared for the meeting.