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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.

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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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ARC Adoption NE

About this service

ARC Adoption provides an independent counselling and birth parent support service on behalf of Adoption Tees Valley, for any birth parents who have had a child adopted through Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland or Stockton local authority. ARC can provide assistance with writing letters/correspondence; and can provide counselling and support for birth parents affected by adoption from the time at which the local authority decides that adoption is the plan for the child. It can be accessed at any time following this by birth parents, as and when they are ready.

This service is available for birth families in

Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees

Contact details

Who is the service for?

  • The child’s birth mother (or pregnant mother)
  • The child’s birth father

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

  • Being planned (including during court proceedings)
  • Has taken place

What support is available?

  • General advice and information about adoption
  • Counselling or therapeutic support
  • Advice and information about contributing to a child’s life story work or life story book
  • Support for contact with an adopted child, including letterbox contact (contact is sometimes described as ‘keeping in touch’ or ‘family time’)
  • Support for birth family members to access adoption records and information held by children’s services or another adoption agency

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)
  • You will need to speak to one of the following practitioners to be referred to our service: a social worker

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
  • Confidential interpreters or translation services are 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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