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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Contact is the term used to describe the ways parents and family members keep in touch with a child who is not living with them.

Contact can mean visits, days out and overnight stays. This is known as direct contact. But contact does not only mean spending time with a child. Contact can also take place through telephone or video calls, letters or emails. This is known as indirect contact.

When a child is in care, children’s services must by law allow ‘reasonable contact’ between parents (or other people with parental responsibility) and the child. This only applies where it is safe for the child to do so. However, children’s services need the court’s permission to stop a parent from having contact their child in care.

Children’s services should support the child to have contact with other members of their family. This includes any brothers and sisters, grandparents and other people who are important to them.

When a child is accommodated (i.e. looked after by children’s services under a voluntary arrangement), the law says children’s services must try to ‘promote’ contact between the child and other people in the family, including the parents, provided it is safe to do so).

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