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 protection enquiries/investigation

Children’s services have a legal duty to make enquiries if they receive information that a child may be at risk of significant harm.

These child protection enquiries are sometimes called child protection investigations. They are also referred to as ‘Section 47 enquiries or investigations.’ This is because the legal duty to investigate is set out in Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.

Children’s services most often receive this information from another professional, such as a teacher or a health worker, who is worried a child may not be safe or well cared for. Members of the child’s wider family or the public also sometimes tell children’s services they are worried about a child.

Social workers firstly need to gather information about the child and their family. This will help them to decide what action (if any) they need to take to keep the child safe and promote their welfare.

Social workers will need to see the child as part of their enquiries. Government guidelines say they should speak to the child on their own but they will normally ask the parents’ permission before they do this.

All children’s services departments have to follow the government guidance set out in Working Together 2018 when conducting a child protection enquiry. They will also have their own local procedures.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Child protection

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