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 Social Work Act 2017 legislation

The Act introduces reforms relating to safeguarding and looked after children. The reforms also relate to the process of care proceedings and adoption.

Key measures include:

  • Section 1 of the Act introduces seven corporate parenting principles for local authorities. Local authorities are corporate parents to looked after children and care leavers. These principles are guidelines intended to explain how local authorities should act.
  • Section 2 provides that local authorities are required to publish a ‘local offer’ for care leavers. This sets out services available to help them prepare for adulthood and independent living. Section 3 provides that local authorities must provide care leavers with a personal adviser. Every care leaver up to age 25 should have a personal adviser, unless they no longer want one.
  • Section 8 relates to decisions about long-term placements for children. It says that courts have to consider the impact of any harm the child has (or is likely to have) suffered. The court also needs to consider the child’s current and future needs. This includes the needs arising from that impact of any harm suffered. The permanence plan must set out how those needs will be met.
  • Section 9 adds prospective adopters (with whom a child has been placed) to the list of those whose relationship with the child the court will have to take into account when reaching a decision about adoption.
  • Sections 16 and 30 of the Act remove the requirement to set up a local safeguarding children board. Instead, the three key safeguarding partners are free to decide the best local arrangements to work together to safeguard children. The safeguarding partners are: the local authority, clinical commissioning group and the police.

For more information see:

Children and Social Work Act 2017

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