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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34895
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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We have been strongarmed (threat of social services) to put

Customer Question

We have been strongarmed (threat of social services) to put our daughter into an eating disorders treatment centre. We did not disagree with having treatment, but wanted to ensure that she would be in an appropriate environment - we had tried for keeping her at home and day patient, but this was refused. We had to put her in a centre on Wednesday. However, there are GRAVE concerns for her physical safety and well-being there, as well as her emotional frame of mind. She is 15, 16 in June. If we remove her from this place what legal actions might happen as a result? (Mental health not invoked, she is perfectly rational if anorexic presently) We did not sign any consent forms, neither did she. We want to take her out and put her in hospital until a more appropriate centre can be found. We are desperate to know our legal rights and hers. We don't want the social services to take her from us. BTW we are both working professionals, middle age and in the education/FE sector - not social benefits persons. Thank you.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question
I shall do my best to assist you but need some further information first.
Is it the Medical Team or Social Services who have placed you under pressure?
Is there a hospital willing to take her?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. It was the local Child/Adolescent Team who pressured us, but they literally had social services in the waiting room at their office to come in and start taking over IF we hadn't agreed.We remain extremely concerned for her physical and emotional well being in this place.

We know she needs help but we had asked for intensive DAY treatment, which she had started and responded to, but the local CAMHS team would not allow us. This decision of theirs was made in a snap, based on an assessment elsewhere where the assessor read someone else's clinical notes and made huge errors, then dictated the inpatient. It's appalling.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Indeed it is - but is there a hospital willing to continue her treatement?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

A transfer would have to be justified and approved by the local NHS CAMHS team and the PCT commissioners to fund it. Otherwise, my understanding is that we would be subject to arrest for child endangerment. We are led to believe that if we took her to an A&E, for instance, that they would likely refuse to treat her or admit her. So although we know she needs help we are in a horrible catch-22. The place where she is is disorganised, lots of agency staff, it's dirty, there are too many girls there to the number of rooms and staff, and they park them in front of the TV instead of giving them therapy. It's a nightmare, and she is trapped. Or is she? Please help us with some constructive information. I want to know if we can remove her without being subject to arrest. Thank you.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
At present there are no orders in place preventing you from removing your daughter from her current location and if she presents at A and E she will be treated.
It is highly unlikely that you would be arrested for Child Endangerment - not least because of your daughters age - she will be 16 in a few weeks time and entitled to make her own decisions as to where she lives.
However there would still be the risk of Care Proceedings (which would remove her choices of course) and if you wish to successfully combat that then you will need to have an alternative care plan in place - even if it is private treatment.
Your daughter can get support in dealing with Social Services from the Charity NYAS ( and you can get support in dealing with them from the Family Rights Group (
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further information