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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Information, advice and support services

Every local authority area is legally required to provide an independent information, advice and support service. This service is to help children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities. Support will also be provided to the child’s family.

Although these services are funded by the local authority, the advice they give must be independent. Government guidance is that such services should be free, impartial, confidential and accessible. They should be able to give advice face to face, over the phone and by email.

Guidance makes clear that services should work in partnership with parents. They should be able to work with older young people (aged 16 and over).

The sorts of issues an independent advice and support service include:

  • The law on special educational needs and disability, health and social care.
  • Local policy and practice.
  • Personal budgets.
  • Education, health and care plans and assessments.
  • Help to resolve disputes. This will include advice on local complaints procedures, mediation and tribunals.
  • Support in preparing for and attending meetings, including representation and advocacy.
  • Signposting to other services, including links to parent support groups.

Some independence advice and support services are based within local authority offices. Others are hosted by local charities. The advice offered should always be impartial wherever a service is based.

For more information about IAS Services see:

The website of the Information, Advice and Support Services Network, including how to find your local service.

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

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