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 in need definition

A ‘child in need’ is a child who is thought to need extra help from children’s services if they are to achieve or maintain ‘a reasonable standard of health or development’. This is defined in law (Section 17 of the Children Act 1989) and includes all disabled children.

Children’s services have a duty to protect and promote the welfare of all children ‘in need’ in their area. They will decide whether or not a child is ‘in need’ by carrying out a child in need assessment.

If the assessment concludes that a child does need extra help, children’s services will normally draw up a child in need plan with the family. This spells out what help will be provided to the child and family, and who by. The plan should also make clear when a review will be done.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Child in need

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