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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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Interim supervision order

An interim supervision order places a child under the supervision of children’s services. This means children’s services must be directly involved with the child’s life. They will have a duty to ‘advise, assist and befriend’ the child. If the order is made the child will still have a social worker.

Requirements can be added to an interim supervision. Examples include the child having medical treatment. Or for having to live in certain places for specific periods of time.

Just like with an application for an interim care order, the law sets out when children’s services may make an application for an interim supervision order to start care proceedings. It is the same legal test in section 38 of the Children Act 1989. It says that children’s services may only start care proceedings if they have good reason (‘reasonable grounds’) to believe a child is:

  1. Suffering significant harm, or is likely to suffer significant harm, and
  2. That is because either:
  • The care a parent is giving to the child is not what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to provide (see section 32(1)(b)(i)) Or

If children’s services apply for the order, it doesn’t mean the Family Court will make it.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Care (and related) proceedings

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