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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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Adoption Matters

About this service

Are you a birth family member and want help or advice in locating adoption records? We know that finding and accessing adoption records can be a very difficult and very emotional time. We provide a free-of-charge service to families connected with Adoption Matters and offer a paid-for service to anyone unconnected to our charity. We offer an initial consultation offering advice, tracing, intermediary service and support with reunions. Adoption Matters has been providing support to adopted adults and birth family members for over 50 years, so we have a wealth of experience. We offer a personalised service. For support offered virtually, we can offer our services UK-wide. For any in person or face-to-face support, we can offer our services in the areas listed.

This service is available for birth families in

Sunderland, Oldham, Redcar and Cleveland, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sefton, Sheffield, Shropshire, Solihull, South Tyneside, St. Helens, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Blackburn with Darwen, Tameside, Telford and Wrekin, Trafford, Wakefield, Walsall, Warrington, Westmorland and Furness, Wigan, Wirral, City of York, Durham, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, North Yorkshire, Barnsley, Blackpool, Bolton, Bradford, Bury, Calderdale, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Cumberland, Darlington, Doncaster, East Riding of Yorkshire, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Northumberland, North Tyneside, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Middlesbrough, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Knowsley, Kirklees, Hull, Halton

Contact details

Who is the service for?

  • The child’s birth mother (or pregnant mother)
  • The child’s birth father
  • The child’s brothers and sisters, including half siblings and step siblings
  • The child’s wider family and friends (including grandparents, aunts/uncles)

At what point in the adoption process is support available? When adoption is:

  • Has taken place

What support is available?

  • Counselling or therapeutic support
  • Support groups for birth families affected by adoption
  • Support for birth family members to access adoption records and information held by children’s services or another adoption agency
  • Information and support about reconnecting with an adult relative who was adopted as a child (some services included in this map may charge a fee for this)

Where is support available?

  • In person, at a flexible location, such as your home
  • In person, at a specific location
  • Online, including virtual meetings or webchat
  • Over the phone

How to access the service?

  • Contact us directly if you want support (this is also known as self-referral)

How much support is available?

  • The amount of support is flexible, based on how much support is needed

Key details about the service

  • One-to-one support is available at this service
  • This service can give specialist support and information for birth families affected by international adoption
  • This service can give specialist support or information for birth families affected by transracial adoption
  • Additional support for people with disabilities, including learning difficulties and learning disabilities, is available at this service

Has the service been independently evaluated, with input from family members who have used the service?

No, not at this point
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Our funding means we can currently only help 4 in 10 people

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