A Self Help Guide

This is a working draft by mothers, grandmothers, other primary carers and campaigners determined to stop children in their thousands being unjustly taken away from their families, and to stop violent fathers having unsupervised contact with children when the child doesn’t want it and/or the mother thinks it’s not safe. It is based on collective self-help which brings together our combined first-hand experience. We hope you find it useful and strengthening in your struggle to protect your children. We welcome your comments and suggestions. 

At the time of writing (November 2020) we haven’t updated everything as a result of the MOJ Review into domestic violence and the family courts or what is likely to result from the Domestic Abuse Bill going through parliament soon.  And we don’t include here what’s changed as a result of Covid19.   For more info on all of these please see our blog.  https;//.supportnotseparation.blog


Introduction – what you are up against 

Section 1. Top TIPS 

Section 2. The laws 

Section 3. What can I do if Children’s Services become involved with my children? 

Section 4. Can I get help from Children’s Services? 

4.1 How do I apply for help: Section 17; Child in Need 

4.2 Can I get help if I am disabled? 

Section 5. What happens if my child is put on Child Protection? 

5.1 What can I do if I’m accused of harming my child? 

5.2 What if I’m accused of fabricated & induced iIlness (FII)? 

5.3 Top TIPS – Child Protection 

5.4 Challenging a Child Protection Plan 

5.5 Core Group Meetings 

5.6 Child Protection Review Conference 

Section 6. What can I do if Children’s Services are taking me to court? 

6.1 Top TIPS: Section 20 – DO NOT SIGN 

Section 7. Emergency proceedings 

Section 8. Problems with lawyers 

Section 9. Care Proceedings: how do I defend myself and my child/ren? 

9.1 First hearing – Case Management Hearing/ Directions hearing 

9.2 Contested Removal Hearing 

9.3 Issues Resolution Hearing 

9.4 Fact finding Hearing 

9.5 Fact finding for medical cases and non-accidental injury 

9.6 Final Hearing 

9.7 Top TIPS – Giving evidence in court 

9.8 Possible outcomes from a final hearing 

Section 10. Can I appeal against a care order? 

Section 11. Can I stop my children being adopted? 

Section 12. Can I have contact with my children in care? 

12.1 What is a LAC Review? 

Section 13. I am a victim of rape/domestic abuse: can I get help? 

13.1 Can I get an injunction? 

Section 14. Going to court about residence or contact with child/ren

14.1 First Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appointment (FDHRA) 

14.2 What happens if the court orders a fact-finding hearing?

14.3 Top TIPS: Scott Schedule 

14.4 Final Hearing

14.5 Ongoing disputes over contact or residence 

Section 15. What can I do if I’m accused of “parental alienation”. 

Section 16. Can I ask for a different judge? 

Section 17. Breastfeeding – what can I do to protect my child’s right to breastfeed? 

17.1 What can I do if I’m being threatened with my child being taken from me while breastfeeding? 

17.2 What can I do if the father is insisting on overnight or extended contact while my child is still breastfeeding? 

Section 18. Appendix 1: Template for Subject Access Request

Section 19. Appendix 2: Sample Scott Schedule

Section 20. Appendix 3 Which form do i need for court?

Section 21. End notes



Support Not Separation
Crossroads Women’s Centre
25 Wolsey Mews
Kentish Town

Email: SNS@legalactionforwomen.net

Telephone: 020 7482 2496