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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Foster care agreement

This is an agreement that foster carers will be asked to sign when a child is placed in their care.

The foster care agreement will set out expectations in terms of the care to be provided to the child. This includes a requirement that the child is treated as though they are a member of the foster carer’s family.

The foster care agreement will also set out:

  • What support and training children’s services or the independent fostering agency will provide.
  • The procedure for reviewing the foster carer’s approval. Every foster carer must have their approval reviewed at least once a year. This review does not mean going through the full assessment process again.
  • How the foster carer can make a complaint.

The foster care agreement will also specify some obligations on the foster carer, including:

  • The foster carer will notify children’s services or the independent fostering agency of any important changes in their circumstances. This includes a change of address or any change to who lives in the family home.
  • The foster carer will not physically punish the child.
  • The foster carer will keep children’s services or the independent fostering agency informed of the child’s progress and of any significant events affecting the child.
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