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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Judicial review

This is a court process in which a judge reviews whether an action or decision taken by a public body was lawful. That public body might be a local authority, a health authority or a school’s board of governors.

The judge must decide whether the public body followed the correct procedures within the law in reaching the decision that it did.

If the judge finds that correct procedures were not followed, this does not mean the judge will substitute an alternative ‘decision’. The public body may be able to make the same decision again, as long as it does so in a lawful way, following correct procedures.

Parents can use judicial review to challenge how a local authority has acted. For example, if they think children’s services have not met a legal duty towards their child. This is unusual, however. Parents will normally need to follow the public body’s complaints procedure first. They will then need to refer the matter to the Ombudsman. Once those options have been exhausted, they may wish to consider applying for judicial review.

For more information see our advice sheet on:

5a) Judicial review: an introduction

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