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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Children and Families Act 2014 legislation

The Children and Families Act 2014 made significant changes to the Children Act 1989. It introduced a number of reforms relating to care proceedings.

Measures introduced by the Act include:

  • The 26-week limit for care proceedings. Care proceedings must now be completed within 26 weeks. The court can extend this in exceptional circumstances. The 26-week time limit aims to ensure that seeks to ensure that permanence is achieved as early as possible, in the best interests of the child.
  • Staying Put‘ arrangements. These arrangements enable the young person to continue living with their foster carers if this is what the young person and foster carer wants. The arrangements allow a young person to live with a foster carer until age 21.
  • Foster for adoption. The Act promotes the use of fostering for adoption placements for looked after children who are unlikely to be able to return to live with their birth family. Children’s services must first try to place the child with kinship carers (unless that is not in their best interests).
  • Education, health and care assessments and plans. The Act provides a framework for how these should be provided for children with special educational needs and disability.
  • Residence and contact order were replaced with child arrangements orders. These orders specify where a child is to live, and who they are to spend time with.

For more information see:

Children and Families Act 2014

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