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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Kinship carer

This is a relative, family friend or other connected person who is looking after a child who cannot live with their parents. Another name for a kinship carer is a ‘family and friends carer’.

If a social worker has been involved in arranging for the child to live with the kinship carer, the child is likely to be a looked after child. If social workers haven’t been involved then it is likely to be a private arrangement.

When a child cannot live with their parents (or anyone else who has parental responsibility), children’s services explore the child’s family and friends network. They must determine whether there is anyone else who can provide them with safe and appropriate care.

Family and friends can apply for a child arrangements order. This is a court order to say the child will live with them. Or they might apply for a special guardianship order to formalise the child’s placement with them.

The type of support that is available to kinship carers will vary according to the type of arrangement.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Kinship carers

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