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 visitor

If social workers think that a looked after child will benefit from it, then they have a duty to appoint someone to become the child’s ‘independent visitor’. This person must have no connection with the local authority.

The decision to appoint an independent visitor is considered as part discussions about the child’s the care plan. It should also be discussed during looked after child reviews.

Most independent visitors are likely to be locally recruited volunteers. Their role will be to:

  • Make friends with the child and establish a trusting relationship.
  • Promote the child’s educational, social and emotional development.
  • To encourage the child to play an active role in decisions that affect them.
  • Offer practical advice and support on a range of issues.

Examples of when an independent visitor might be appointed include:

  • A child who does not get many visits from or contact with members of their family
  • A child who is placed a long way from their home area
  • A child who is unable to go out independently.
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