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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Education, health and care needs assessment

Some young people with special educational needs require more help and support than can be provided from within the resources of their mainstream school, college or nursery. If so, they are likely to need an education, health and care plan.

An education, health and care needs assessment is a thorough assessment carried out by a local authority. It assesses a child or young person’s educational, health and social care needs. Its aim is to see whether those needs are complex enough to require an education, health and care plan to be drawn up.

The people who can ask for an assessment to be carried out are:

  • A child’s parents or carers
  • The child’s school (or early years setting)
  • The young person themselves (if they are aged 16 to 25)
  • The young person’s further education college, or 6th form college.

Before deciding whether or not to carry out an assessment, the local authority will want to see evidence that the child needs more support than can be provided by the mainstream school or other educational setting. Evidence might be that a child has not made expected progress, has missed developmental milestones or has made progress only because of intensive support.

A local authority must tell the parents within 6 weeks of the initial request whether it intends to carry out an assessment.

For more information on independent advice services to help families take part in the education, health and care needs process. See also the Local Offer (for SEND) on your local authority’s website

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Our funding means we can currently only help 4 in 10 people

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