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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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The term guardian is used in two contexts within the child welfare system. The two definitions should not be confused.

The Children Act 1989 allows the courts to appoint an individual as a child’s ‘guardian’. This is referred to as a ‘testamentary guardian’. This person will have parental responsibility for a child. It does not happen often. It is most likely to occur when a child’s parents have died. The person who becomes guardian will have been appointed as the child’s guardian in the parent’s will.

When the term ‘guardian’ is used in care proceedings, it is shorthand for children’s guardian. A children’s guardian is an independent social worker appointed by the court. Their role is to look after a child’s best interests during legal proceedings.

For more information see:

Children’s guardian

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