Care and Social Services

Coodes specialist family lawyers can help you with any and all issues relating to your family and their involvement with social services. Our experienced team understand how difficult and exhausting it can be to access support and care, and to get answers from resource-constrained social services teams, or to prepare and present evidence in order to resist interventions by the local authorities. We’re here to help you with expert advice and long experience of navigating the maze of legal and administrative obstacles that can come between you and the best outcomes for your family. This could include:

  • accessing family support care workers
  • making a family plan
  • accessing care or support for family members with disabilities
  • dissatisfaction with existing care arrangements
  • Public Law Outline (PLO) meetings
  • care proceedings
  • supervision or emergency supervision proceedings
  • removal of children to foster care
  • placement orders

For families already under strain, addressing such complex and challenging issues can feel overwhelming – almost like you are on trial. Our lawyers recognise these pressures and can help you find a way through the process. We’ll help you to find the best way forward, wherever possible working with rather than against the local authorities to find a solution that addresses the needs of your family members. Typically, we represent parents in these matters, but we will also advise grandparents or guardians where appropriate.

Care proceedings lawyers

Coodes experienced family team advises on a wide range of care-related matters, working with parents, grandparents, guardians and local authorities to secure the best possible outcomes for the children and young people concerned. Many of our lawyers are members of the Law Society Children Panel and are recognised specialists in court proceedings where the Local Authority Social Services children’s department is involved.

The prospect of care proceedings can seem intimidating. Our family law specialists will help you understand the process, come with you to initial meetings if required and help you work with Social Services to resolve the problems.

If Care Proceedings are started at court, we can represent you at all levels within the Family Court and coordinate any additional specialists, for example expert witnesses and barristers, where appropriate.

From supervision, care or special guardianship orders to long-term foster-care placements and adoption we can help you with any and all public law children cases.

For more advice on care proceedings contact one of our family lawyers at your local office.

Public Law Outline meetings

A Public Law Outline (PLO) is a formal meeting, called by a social worker, to discuss their concerns about a child and the support that may be available for them. These meetings are used to try to reach an agreement without the need for court proceedings and will usually outline what changes or improvements you need to make to reduce concerns. When a social worker calls a PLO meeting it is usually because other efforts to effect change have been unsuccessful.

PLO meetings are serious matters, and you should understand that the meeting may be your last chance to avoid Court proceedings. At the meeting, a written agreement may be produced, which sets out what you will need to do and how the social worker will help. It is important that you follow this agreement. If an agreement is not reached or you do not keep to the agreement, it very likely the case will go to court.

Legal Aid is automatically available if you have received a letter before proceedings inviting you to a PLO meeting, regardless of your financial situation. Coodes Solicitors has a Legal Aid contract for the whole of Cornwall and the Holsworthy area in North Devon. Do not hesitate to contact our Family team if you have received a letter and require legal advice.

Speak confidentially to one of our family lawyers for guidance about the best path for you, by calling us now on 01726 874 700 or email


Sarah Evans

Head of Family

Elise Alma


Angela Briggs

Chartered Legal Executive

Bradley Kaine


News & Events

Key contact

Sarah Evans

Head of Family

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