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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Delegated authority

Delegated authority means allowing foster carers to make day-to-day decisions about a looked after child in their care. The foster carer does not have parental responsibility for the child. But they can make decisions such as whether a child can go on a school trip. For children who live in children’s homes, the manager will have delegated authority.

The idea is that allowing the foster carer to make common-sense decisions is much better for the child. It means the child does not miss out and is not made to feel different to their classmates and friends.

Delegated authority does not allow foster carers to take major decisions, such as a change of school. These remain matters for whoever has parental responsibility.

The child’s placement plan should set out how day-to-day decisions will be made. This includes matters that the foster carer can decide. Wherever possible, birth families should be involved in discussions about how decisions will be taken. If the child is accommodated by children’s services under a voluntary arrangement, the position is different. The birth family must be involved in all decision-making.

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