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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Child arrangements order

A child arrangements order is a court order that sets out:

  • Where and with whom a child is to live (this may be more than one person)
  • Who else the child should spend time with or have contact with.

Child arrangements orders were introduced in April 2014 to replace residence orders and contact orders.

Child arrangements orders are most commonly used to set out arrangements between parents as to where a child should live, and when they should spend time with their other parent. They are also used to order that a child lives with another family member or friend. Parents do not lose parental responsibility when a child arrangements order says their child should live with someone else.

A child arrangements order may say a child is to live with more than one person. For example, when two people are raising the child at separate addresses for different parts of the week. Or if the grandparents and a parent are raising the child together at the same address.

A child arrangements order gives parental responsibility to the person it says the child will live with (if they do not already have it). This means they can make most day-to-day decisions about the child’s upbringing (e.g. about school trips and medical treatment) without always having to refer back to the parents or other people with parental responsibility.

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