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A guide to parents in care proceedings

View profile for Lois Britchford
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A guide to parents in care proceedings: help us to help you!
Care proceedings are hard – we get that. Let’s take a look at our five top tips to help you navigate your way through these difficult times:
1. Honesty really is the best policy.
Always. Tell. The. Truth. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But you would be surprised how many clients become overrun with emotion and forget this. Look, I get it. There are hundreds of reasons why they try and hide away from the actual facts of the matter; shame, guilt, fear or misplaced loyalty to name just a few. But it is not going to get you anywhere. No-one is expecting you to be perfect and no-one is going to be shocked to hear that you made a mistake because, who hasn’t? The biggest thing that is going to help you overcome these proceedings and help you come out of the other side is knowing when to own up. Trust me when I say that recovering from an uncovered lie is often harder than recovering from the misdemeanor itself!
2. Keep your “enemies” closer.
It is not uncommon for parents to think of the Local Authority as the “bad guys” who are out to get them. I can see why you might think that, but it really isn’t the case. They are simply doing their jobs and trying to ensure that your children are safe. With that in mind, instead of pushing them away, you need to make sure that you are treating them like your best friend. I’m not talking about inviting them around for tea or discussing the latest Netflix series. I am simply suggesting that you heed to their advice, let them in on your thoughts and feelings, and ask them for help if you need it. Honestly, it’ll work wonders.
3. Be a “Yes” man.
We deal with parents in care proceedings day in, day out and I can guarantee that within almost every case, the clients are asked (or told) to undertake something that they don’t want to do. This could be drug or alcohol testing, an expert assessment, or something else. You need to keep your eyes fixed on the bigger picture and focus on what you want your end goal to be. 
4. Be prepared to take a trip down memory lane.
One of the biggest, and hardest, tasks that we have to undertake when going through care proceedings is looking back at the events leading up to it, especially when we are dealing with injuries to children. You need to come prepared to go through the timeline with a fine-toothed comb – holding your hands up to things that you did wrong at the first available opportunity. It can take a long time and can often be quite upsetting but in cases such as these, it can be the difference between you being found to be in the pool of potential perpetrators or not. 
5. Trust me, I’m a lawyer.
Care Proceedings are a lot of things – stressful, infuriating, upsetting. The thought of dealing with this alone is not worth thinking about. You need the best possible team to help guide you through it – that is where we come in. We have experience dealing with a wide variety of cases, and nothing surprises us. The advice we deliver is advice that you can trust and will be based on our wealth of expertise. 
If you need help navigating your way through care proceedings, call a specialist in our Family Law team on 01904 624185.