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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). For Textphone dial 18001 followed by the advice line number. 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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Our Impact Goals

Our Impact Goals

Family Rights Group has set ambitious goals for the next five years (2021-26) and tangible ways of measuring our success.

1. Increasing access to independent legal and practical advice and information for families involved in the child welfare system

We will continue to provide specialist, legal and practice advice to parents whose children are in need, deemed at risk or are in the care system and wider family and friends who are raising a child who cannot remain at home.

By 2026 at least:

  • 10,000 calls a year to be answered;
  • 1 in 2 callers report our advice has made a positive difference to the child remaining or returning to their family, and/or to the local authority plan for the child and services provided;
  • 750,000 unique visitors per year accessing information and advice from the website or discussion forums.

We will continue to innovate, using technology where appropriate, to enable more families to get the advice they need.

We will further develop our advice and advocacy work for families involved in the child welfare system, setting and promoting advocacy standards and best practice for other services to adopt.

This will include:

  • Undertaking an audit and engagement exercise into peer support and advocacy
  • Piloting remote advocacy for parents and wider family members.

2. Kinship care

We want kinship care to become the first thought, not an afterthought, when a child is unable to remain with their parent. We want kinship carers to have access to legal advice to help enable them to make informed decisions, and when involved in court proceedings to receive adequate legal representation. We want all kinship carers to be properly supported to take on the care of the child and meet all of their needs without being forced into poverty and hardship.

By 2026:

  • An active All Party Parliamentary Group on Kinship Care is established to continue the work of the Parliamentary Taskforce, helping to ensure kinship care is recognised and considered by politicians in Parliament and in government policymaking.
  • A councillors’ network is set up to raise awareness of kinship care in local government and help equip local politicians to champion kinship care within their own authorities.
  • Gaps in research evidence have been addressed through the further study, including research into the experience of children from black minority ethnic communities who are be raised by kinship carers.
  • That Family Rights Group continues to be recognised as the national policy and legal authority on kinship care and in leading the campaign for kinship care to be the first port of care if a child is unable to remain at home and ensuring it is adequately supported.

3. The promotion of family-led decision-making in the child welfare arena

We want family group conferences to become a common approach across the child welfare system to embed partnership working between families and the state to address needs and resolve safeguarding concerns in relation to a child.

By 2026:

  • 75% of local authorities to be offering families the option of a family group conference if their child is at risk of entering the care system;
  • Half of family group conference services to have been accredited by Family Rights Group;
  • There is a growing body of evidence and awareness amongst the public and decisions makers as to the benefits of family group conferences and how they contribute to improved decision making and better outcomes for children.

4. Lifelong Links – building lasting support networks for children

The Lifelong Links approach, not only helps build support networks for children in care, it also helps to create a culture within the care system in which children’s relationships are valued from the outset.

Over the next 5 years we want to see a significant expansion of the Lifelong Links programme across the UK.

  • 3000 children and young people in care or care leavers directly benefiting from Lifelong Links by 2026.

Primarily focusing on children in care, we will further develop Lifelong Links to support children and young people in particular situations including those facing exploitation or impacted by the criminal justice system.

5. Family voices in the child welfare and family justice system

We want it to become the norm that children and families with experience of the child welfare and family justice system help shape it, at local and national level. We want their voices and experiences to be heard by the public, practitioners and decision makers, shifting attitudes, presumptions, policies and practice.

We see the continuing development of our parents’ and kinship care panels, as instrumental to achieving this:

  • Families with experience of the child welfare system are directly involved in the co-production and co-delivery of training to the judiciary, social work students and social workers;
  • By 2026 at least 20% of children’s services departments and other child welfare and family justice agencies have in place a mechanism, such as a families’ panel, in which parents and kinship carers influence policies and the commissioning of services;
  • We continue to support the development and influence of our family panels, and address under-representation of fathers, disabled parents and carers and black and minority ethnic parents and kinship carers. We will also co-develop platforms to enable young parents and those who have grown up in kinship care or in the care system, to have their voice, views and experiences heard.

We commit to ensuring that at least 50% of our board of trustees have lived experience of the child welfare or family justice system.

6. Leading, influencing and embedding

  • To lead, influence and help embed reforms to the child welfare and family justice system to help realise our vision, we will continue to work collaboratively and further build:
    • Our in-depth legal and policy expertise and practice insight;
    • A research evidence base;
    • Our communications and campaigning work
    • Co-produced solutions to existing and new challenges
    • Our training and consultancy offer to local authorities and other public and voluntary sector agencies designed to promote practices that are evidence based, focus upon the welfare of the child and respect and value families.

Our mission can only be achieved by working with: children and families with experience of the child welfare system and those practitioners working within in it; national and local decision makers; academics and our organisational friends.

We will:

  • Continue to promote at national and local level in England and Wales implementation of the findings of the Care Crisis Review;
  • Engage with the independent Care Review in England and the Ministry of Justice’s ongoing consideration of legal aid reform;
  • Develop and implement a five-year vision for our work in Scotland, to help realise The Promise.

Our work will further enhance our position, reputation and recognition and media presence as the leading:

  • organisation working with government, local authorities and other public agencies to introduce and embed family-led practices in the interests of children;
  • voice on safe and effective alternatives to children having to enter the care system and to nurturing supportive relationships for those who are in care.

7. Infrastructure and sustainability


A commitment to continuous improvement to strengthen Family Rights Group’s espousal of each of the seven principles of good governance: leadership, integrity, decision-making and risk, board effectiveness, equality and inclusion, and openness and accountability.


Building a sustainable funding structure to ensure that more diverse income streams are secured, including an increase in unrestricted grants as well as income from training, consultancy and accreditation fees, to give the organisation greater flexibility in delivering its objectives and grow sustainably over the next five years.


Ensuring the infrastructure of Family Rights Group, including its policies, procedures and systems, is fit for purpose to enable the charity to achieve its priorities.

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

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