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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Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a type of early help assessment. It is a way of gathering information about a child and their family’s needs at an early stage to identify what support might be needed. It helps to bring together different professionals to provide that support. It is voluntary and the parents only need to take up that support if they think it will help.

The aim is to identify needs early on before problems become worse and more difficult to sort out. Different agencies such as schools, health services or housing department can all use it.

It is used for children who do not meet the threshold for help from children’s services. It is not appropriate for a child who is a child in need or a child in need of protection.

A professional in the agency that works most closely with the child will carry out the assessment. They will then be the ‘lead practitioner’ for the child and family. With the parents’ agreement, they will share information with other agencies. The lead professional will coordinate support for the family.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Early help

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