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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Independent fostering agency (IFA)

The role of an independent fostering agency is to find suitable foster carers for looked after children. The agency will do this on behalf of children’s services.

Independent fostering agencies recruit, assess and approve foster carers. They provide them with ongoing support and training. Each foster carer will have a supervising social worker.

Independent agencies are not part of local authority children’s services. They also do not recruit kinship foster carers, only children’s services do this.

Many agencies can provide foster carers who are experienced in a particular type of care. For example, foster carers who are trained to support children with a particular disability.

All independent fostering agencies must register with Ofsted. They work to the same National Minimum Standards and legal requirements as local authority fostering services.

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

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