How to contact us for advice

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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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Adoption definition

Adoption is the legal process of child becoming a permanent member of a new family.

Once an adoption order has been made, the child is no longer legally related to their birth family. Legal parenthood, which encompasses all parental rights, passes to the adopter. This can only happen if a court orders it.

A court will only make an adoption order if it thinks this is what is best for the child. The court has the power to order adoption even if the child’s parents do not agree.
Before prospective adopters can make their application for an adoption order, the child must be ‘placed for adoption’ with them, and then have lived with them for 10 continuous weeks.
Adoption is for life. An adoption order cannot be reversed once it has been made, except in exceptional circumstances. Such cases are extremely rare.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Fostering for adoption

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