If there is no improvement in the children’s welfare then the SSD will convene a Child Protection Conference Meeting. The conference will invite the key people who are involved with the children and action points will arise from the conference if the children are made the subject of a child protection plan. Children will be placed on the child protection register under one or more categories the most usual are risk of physical and/or emotional neglect. A Social Worker will be required to make announced and unannounced visits every 10 working days.
If there is no improvement in a child’s welfare and the action points are not being met then the SSD may then issue a Letter Before Action to the parents. This will detail the concerns/worries the SSD have and what they want to happen. You will be entitled to a type of preliminary legal aid which will be free to you provided you are the biological parent of the child and/or have parental responsibility. The LA may require that you co-operate in one or more assessments such as a risk and parenting assessment or a psychiatric assessment. You will be advised to co-operate with any assessments and work with professionals to try and avoid court proceedings being issued.
A Special Guardianship Order is an alternative to adoption where placement is being considered outside the immediate family to extended family members or friends. A Special Guardianship Order has the effect of giving enhanced parental responsibility to the Special Guardians. The birth parents retain some parental responsibility. The important difference between adoption and special guardianship is that with the latter, the children do not legally become the child of the Special Guardians.