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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Expert witness

An expert witness is someone with specialist knowledge. For example, a psychiatrist. They can provide the family court with expert evidence during court proceedings. This is to help the court reach a fair and informed decision. The expert will prepare a report for the court. They may also give evidence at a contested hearing.

The court can only agree to expert evidence being commissioned during care proceedings if that evidence will be “necessary to resolve the proceedings justly”. This means that the court needs the expert evidence in order to make a decision. The court’s permission is required in order to instruct an expert witness. The judge must be satisfied that the expert opinion cannot be provided by anyone else. For example, the social worker, children’s guardian or anyone else who is a party to proceedings.

Decisions about whether to commission expert evidence should be made early on in the proceedings. These decisions are usually at the case management hearing.

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

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