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). 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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Fostering allowance

This is a weekly sum of money paid to foster carers to cover the cost of caring for a looked after child. It is paid by children’s services or an independent fostering agency. Independent agencies often pay a higher fostering allowance than that paid by children’s services.

The allowance is payable to all approved foster carers who are caring for a child. This is the case whether the foster carer is unrelated or a kinship foster carer. Kinship foster carers should not be paid less than unrelated foster carers. The duty to pay a fostering allowance applies from the date a child is first placed with the foster carer.

Allowances are set locally but every year the government sets a minimum fostering allowance. Foster carers must not be paid less than this amount. The minimum allowance varies. It depends on the child’s age and where the foster carers lives. The allowance is higher in the South East and London than in the rest of England.

Foster carers may be paid more money if they have specific skills. Some foster carers are trained to care for children with very challenging behaviour.

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