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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Concurrent planning

Concurrent planning is used in cases in which a child may be adopted. This is typically when children’s services think they may not be able to stay with their birth family long-term. This is usually a baby or child under the age of two.

The child will be placed with specially trained foster carers. At the same time, children’s services provide intensive support to the birth family to see if they can improve their parenting enough for the child to return to them. If they cannot, the foster carers will apply to adopt the child.

The idea is to limit the number of moves for the child. If adoption is the outcome, it means the attachment process between baby and adoptive family began as early as possible in the child’s life.

Concurrent planning is similar to fostering for adoption. The difference is:

  • In concurrent planning, the carers are specially trained foster carers who are also approved adoptive parents. They are trained to provide foster care for young children and to work alongside (and support) the birth family. They have been assessed as able to focus on the baby’s best interests and to cope if the baby returns to the parents.
  • In fostering for adoption, the baby is placed with people who have been approved as suitable to adopt a child. They are only approved as foster carers temporarily on the understanding that they are likely to adopt the child placed with them (although this will not be the outcome in every case).

Not all children’s services offer concurrent planning. All must consider fostering for adoption where adoption is the likely plan for permanence, however.

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