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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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Birth Family Matters

About this service

We offer an independent, confidential support service for birth relatives affected by adoption. Our Birth Family Matters service offers birth relatives a chance to talk and offers advice, counselling and support services to birth relatives. The service is now run by PACT and is available to families in the Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole local authority areas who have a child that has a plan for adoption, or who has already been adopted. Support is also available to birth relatives whose children were adopted many years ago.

This service is available for birth families in

Christchurch and Poole Bournemouth, Dorset

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:

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

What support is available?

  • General advice and information about adoption
  • Advocacy support to help birth family members get their views across when dealing with children’s services and other official agencies
  • Counselling or therapeutic support
  • Support groups for birth families affected by adoption

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 support or information for family members who are under 18
  • 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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