How to contact us for advice

Find out more

Telephone Handler
Close form

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.

Telephone Handler

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.

Family Rights Group
Cover Your Tracks
Generic filters
Exact matches only

Our History

On this page you will find information about:

Our History

Family Rights Group was established in 1974 by a group of lawyers, social workers and academics who were concerned about how families were treated when social services were involved with their children.

Since then, the charity has maintained a unique position:

  • Our starting point is the child within the family;
  • We put the experiences and direct voice of families central to everything we do;
  • Our expertise in child welfare law and practice;
  • Our independence from government and statutory services;
  • Our wealth of experience of providing advice to families, which informs our work with policy makers and practitioners;
  • Our commitment to promoting human rights, social justice and to tackling structural inequalities;
  • Developing policy, practice and service solutions through co-production, drawing on the knowledge, strengths and insights of all stakeholders – practitioners, academics, decision makers, children and their families; and
  • We challenge when required, including through strategic litigation; and
  • We will always provide workable solutions to the challenges we raise.

Our work is aimed at enabling children to live safely and thrive within their family and strengthen the family and community networks of those children who cannot live at home.

The landscape has changed since 1974 and there have been significant successes:

  • Then local authorities could take away parental rights without going to court. Now they can’t.
  • Then parents were not included in their children’s case conferences nor in reviews if their children were in care. Now partnership working is enshrined in legislation.
  • Then grandparents had no legal means to seek contact with their grandchildren if they were in care. Now they do.

We were instrumental in influencing the preparation of the 1989 Children Act and associated guidance, which introduced the key principle of working in partnership with parents to secure the best interests of children.

We have had a significant impact on the development of services to children and families. Nevertheless, significant challenges remain. In 2017, with the number of children in the care system at the highest level since 1985, Family Rights Group facilitated a seven month sector-led review into the care crisis. Work continues to implement the key recommendations.

Our achievements are in large part due to us consistently bringing evidence of injustices to the attention of politicians, practitioners and the media, and putting forward workable solutions in the interest of the child.

Our Achievements

Remembering our Staff

Family Right’s Group’s achievements are built on the passion and talent of our staff. Over the 50 years of our existence, we have been incredibly fortunate to work with extremely talented experts in family law and social work policy in our mission to ensure that children can thrive within their families. We have lost some of these team members along the way, but we draw strength and inspiration from remembering them. The meeting rooms in our London office bear the names of four exceptional former staff members whom we lost during or shortly after their years of service to the charity. You can read about them below.
People pie chart

Our funding means we can currently only help 4 in 10 people

Your donation will help more families access expert legal advice and support from Family Rights Group.

Donate Now