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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Kinship Care definition

A kinship carer is a relative, friend or other connected person who is looking after a child that cannot safely live with their parents. Sometimes kinship carers are known as family and friends carers.

There are different types of kinship care arrangement. The practical and financial support available to kinship carers and the children they raise varies. This is because what is available depends on what type of kinship care arrangement is in place. This means that it is very important that anyone who may become a kinship carer, gets independent legal advice.

If children’s services are involved in arranging for a child to live with a kinship carer, then:

  • The child is likely to be a looked after child, and
  • The type of kinship arrangement is likely to be  kinship foster care.

If children’s services are not involved, then it is likely that the kinship care arrangement is a ‘private family arrangement’. In some cases, a kinship carer applies for a child arrangements order saying the child should with them. Or, they may apply for a special guardianship order.

For more information see our advice pages about the different types of kinship care arrangement and the support available:

Kinship carer

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