How to contact us for advice

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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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A guide to using our Advice and Advocacy Service

If you are a parent, kinship carer or family member who has questions about:

then Family Rights Group’s Advice and Advocacy Service may be able to help you understand the law, child welfare processes, your rights, responsibilities and options.

This guide explains how we can help you, how to use the service, and gives tips on how to get the most out of using it.

About our Advice and Advocacy Service

Our service is:

  • Free
  • Confidential
  • Combines legal and social work expertise
  • Independent of children’s services.

Our service does not:

  • Provide legal advice.
  • Cover private law issues where there is no involvement of children’s services, including child contact and living arrangements.
  • Investigate a child’s home situation. If you are worried about the safety of a child and want their situation to be investigated, please contact the police, children’s services (social services) where the child lives or the NSPCC.
  • Advise children directly. If you are a child who needs support please contact Childline, or call them on 0800 1111.

Online information and advice

You can access a wide range of information and advice on our website. To find information relevant to your situation start with the Who, What and Why? sections of our website.

Online forums for parents and kinship carers

We have an online forum for parents and an online forum for kinship carers (also known as family and friends’ carers). The forums are separate from each other.

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers can:

  • Get help understanding the law and child welfare system.
  • Build a support network with parents and carers in a similar position.
  • Read about, and learn from, other people’s experiences.

They are open forums, so anyone can read posts without signing up. But if you do want to post, you will need to register as a user. It is quick and easy to do.

Telephone advice line

Our advice line is open 9:30am to 3pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). Call us on 0808 801 0366.

You will not be charged for the call if using a UK landline or mobile phone.

If you are deaf or have speech difficulties, you can use a relay service to talk to our advisers over the phone. Relay UK offers a free app which allows you to type or say your questions, which are passed on to our adviser by a Relay Assistant. The Relay Assistant will then type or tell you what our adviser is saying. This is a free service.

If you need an interpreter when using our telephone advice line, we can arrange one. When you call the advice line on 0808 801 0366, please tell the adviser, in English, what language you need and your phone number. This is a free service.

Things to know in advance of calling us

  • We do not record calls to our advice line.
  • Our experienced advisers will ask questions and take notes while talking to you.
  • The adviser will create a secure, confidential record of the conversation on our database.
  • You do not have to tell us your name when talking to us.
  • If during our conversation you tell us something that makes us really worried about a child, about your or someone else’s safety, we may have to inform the police or children’s services.
  • Our advice line can be very busy, and you may not get through to an adviser when you call. If you get a message saying that all our advisers are busy, please try again.

Before you call us

  • Try to call us when you are unlikely to be interrupted and are free to talk.
  • Try to call us from a quiet, private space – without background noise and where you can talk without being overheard.
  • If you are calling from a mobile phone, please check that your phone is charged and has good reception to make the call.
  • Think about what you want to say to the adviser and what questions you have. You can always write your thoughts down before you call.

Top tips to get the most from your call to the advice line

During the call

  • Try not to feel rushed.
  • Explain your situation and why you have called.
  • If you think the adviser has not understood what you have said, let them know and explain again.
  • Listen to the adviser and if you do not understand what the adviser has said, please tell them so that they can repeat what they have said.
  • If you do not understand certain words or phrases the adviser uses, please tell the adviser and ask them to explain them to you.
  • If possible, take some notes of what the adviser says, as you can look at them after the call has ended.
  • If your call is disconnected, unfortunately, we are not able to call you back. If you still need advice, you can call the advice line number again and explain that you were cut off during a call.
  • From time to time if we know that our phone service is being disrupted, we may ask if we can take your number at the beginning of the call to try and state that we will try to call you back in the event of being cut off.

Before ending the call

  • Try to check that you have covered everything you wanted to.
  • Check that you understand what the adviser has said, if not ask them to repeat certain points.
  • Check that you know what should happen next and when – it could be useful to write this down.
  • Ask who to contact if you have any more problems or questions.
  • Ask about other sources of support or where to go to for reliable information.

After the call

  • If the call was long, it might be helpful to take a few minutes to make a few notes about the information the adviser has given you, including any actions you may want to take.
  • If the adviser said that they would send you further information by email, remember to check your email inbox for the email which will be sent from an address ending in @frg.org.uk. If you have not received this within a few days of your call to us, please also check your junk or spam mail folder.

Advice enquiry form – email advice

You can use the advice enquiry form on our website at any time to ask our advice team a question.

  • We will aim to send you a reply to your question within 5 working days. Please make sure that your question is below 150 words.
  • If it is any longer it may get cut short in transmission and we will only see the first 150 words.
  • If you find that you cannot ask your question within the 150-word limit, then our advice line or webchat services may better suit your needs as you will be able to provide more information when talking or chatting to the adviser.

Completing the advice enquiry form

In the form we ask for some basic information which will help us answer your question. We ask:

  • For your name – this is so we can address the email to you, but if you prefer to remain anonymous you can use a made-up name here if you wish.
  • For your email address and then for you to confirm your email address. It is essential that you give us the correct email address that you want your answer to be sent to – as without this we will not be able to respond to you.
  • You to provide some information about the child or children your question is about – this helps us to advise you.
  • If you have contacted Family Rights Group for advice in the past – if you say yes, we will have a look to see if we have sent you any advice by email previously. This may help us advise you this time.
  • How you heard about Family Rights Group – answering this question helps us to understand how people come to know about our services and improve our publicity and promotion.
  • A range of monitoring questions. Your answers to these questions help us assess our service and its impact. Please use the ‘prefer not to say’ option for any questions you do not want to answer.
  • If you are willing to be contacted about research and feedback about our service. If you say yes to this, you will receive a feedback survey by email a few weeks later.

All questions in the form are compulsory so please answer each question and select ‘Prefer not to say’ for any questions that you do not want to answer.

Next steps:

  • Please read our data protection, privacy and confidentiality policies and check the box to give your consent to Family Rights Groups collecting your data.
  • Complete the ‘reCAPTCHA I’m not a robot’ box – this helps us ensure that the enquiries we receive through the form are from real people and prevents spam emails.
  • Press submit once you have completed the form.

After submitting the advice enquiry form

  • Within a few minutes of submitting your enquiry you will receive an automatic confirmation email to let you know that we have received your advice enquiry form.
  • If you do not receive this confirmation email, please check your junk mail box.
  • If you still cannot find our confirmation email you may have given us an incorrect email address when you submitted your enquiry. To ensure that we can send you an answer to your enquiry, you can submit your enquiry again using our advice enquiry form making sure you provide the correct email address.
  • After you receive our automatic response, you should then be sent a further email answering your question within five working days.
  • If you do not receive an email answering your question after five working days you can use the advice enquiry form to check we received your original enquiry. Please ensure you state the same email address when completing the form so we can look up your original enquiry.

Webchat

You can use our live webchat service to chat to one of our advisers online. The service is usually open Mondays and Wednesdays from 2pm – 4pm, excluding bank holidays.

Things to know in advance of using our webchat service

  • You can use the webchat from a smartphone, laptop or ipad – any device that has access to the internet and you can type on.
  • You will be chatting live with one of our experienced advisers.
  • If our advisers are busy chatting to other people when you join the webchat queue you may have to wait for a few minutes before they can start chatting with you.
  • You will be told what number you are in the queue.
  • At the end of your chat, you will be asked if you want to receive an email with the transcript of your chat.
  • Our experienced advisers will ask questions to understand your situation and the advice that you are seeking.
  • The adviser will create a secure, confidential record of the chat on our database.
  • You are not required to tell us your name when talking to us.
  • If during the chat you tell us something that makes us really worried about a child, about your or someone else’s safety we may have to inform the police or children’s services.

Top tips to getting the best results when using our webchat service

Before you use the webchat service:

  • Try to ensure that you are unlikely to be interrupted and are free to chat.
  • Start the chat from a quiet, private space – without background noise and where you can type without your screen being overlooked.
  • Ensure that your device is charged and has good internet connection.
  • Ensure that you do not let your device go to sleep or on to the lock screen while in the webchat queue or during a chat, as you will be disconnected from the webchat service
  • Think about what you want to chat to the adviser about and what questions you have. You can always write your thoughts down before you start the chat.

During the chat:

  • Take your time to explain your situation and the questions you have. The adviser can see when you are typing and will wait for you to finish before responding.
  • If you think the adviser has not understood what you have typed, do let them know and explain again.
  • If you do not understand what the adviser says, please tell them and ask them to repeat what they have said.
  • If you do not understand certain words or phrases the adviser uses, please ask them to explain them to you.

Before ending the chat:

  • Check that you have covered everything you wanted to.
  • Check that you understand what the adviser has written, if not ask them to repeat certain points.
  • Check that you know what should happen next and when.
  • Ask who to contact if you have any more problems or questions.
  • Ask about other sources of support or where to go to for reliable information.

After the chat:

  • When prompted enter your email address if you would like to receive a transcript of the chat – please ensure that you use a correct email address.
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