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 Reviewing Officer (IRO)

An independent reviewing officer’s role is to make sure that children’s services are meeting the child’s needs. Every looked after child must have an independent reviewing officer.

The independent reviewing officer must be a registered social worker. They should have at least five years’ experience. Independent reviewing officers work for children’s services. However, they are independent of the management of the social worker who works with the child and family.

Their main duties are to:

The independent reviewing officer should promote the voice of the child. They must make sure that the child’s wishes and feelings are known and taken into account.

The independent reviewing officer has responsibility to challenge poor social work practice and to resolve problems in the care planning process. Each local authority is required to have a dispute resolution process for the independent reviewing officer to raise concerns with senior managers. Dispute resolution should take no longer than 20 working days. Should the dispute not be resolved, the independent reviewing officer has the power to refer the matter to Cafcass.

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