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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Early help assessment

‘Early help’ means giving support to a child and family as soon as a problem emerges. It does not mean early on in a child’s life. Early help can be given to a family with a child at any age.

The idea is that tackling a problem early on is the best way to help the child. This intervention aims to stop problems getting worse.

The first step is an early help assessment. This is usually suggested by someone who works closely with the child, such as a GP, teacher or health visitor. The common assessment framework is an example of an early help assessment.

All professionals who work with children should be trained to look out for signs a child or family may need help and be able to carry out an assessment. The assessment will identify what help the child and family need. The child and family should be asked what they think would help them. A lead practitioner will be appointed to coordinate support from different agencies.

An early help assessment is voluntary. The parents and child do not have to agree to it. However, if the parents do not agree, the professional who suggested it may become more worried and feel they need to make a formal referral to children’s services.

The sorts of early help services that might be available include speech and language therapy, counselling and young carers’ support groups, for example, as well as parenting programmes and help for parents with needs relating to drug or alcohol misuse.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Early help

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