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). 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 assessment order

This is a court order that means a child must be made available for assessment. The assessment may be, for example, by a doctor. Children’s services may apply for this when they suspect the child is at risk, but the parents do not want the child to be assessed.

The court can only make an order if it agrees there is reason to suspect the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm and that the assessment will not happen without the order being made.

A child assessment order lasts for seven days and cannot be extended. If the parents refuse to comply with the order, this is likely to add to children’s services’ concerns about the child. In such a situation, children’s services might then apply for an emergency protection order or care order.

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