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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Lead social worker

Every child for whom a child protection plan is in place must have a lead social worker. Their role is to coordinate the work of the professionals and family members involved with the child. They must make sure the actions set out in the child protection plan are carried out and reviewed.

The lead social worker should be an experienced social worker employed by children’s services. They are appointed at the initial child protection conference.

The lead social worker’s duties include the following:

  • Develop the outline child protection plan into a detailed plan with actions and outcomes. The outline plan will have been agreed at the initial child protection conference.
  • Making sure that any assessments needed from other professionals or agencies are carried out. They need to ensure that the child and family’s needs are included in the child protection plan.
  • Taking into account the child’s age and level of understanding, make sure the child understands the child protection plan and agrees with what it says.
  • Visit the child regularly; this should include seeing the child on their own.
  • Provide direct help and support to the child and family, as set out the child protection plan. In doing so, the lead social worker should take account of the child and family’s wishes and feelings, as long as these are consistent with the child’s welfare.
  • Coordinate support and help from other agencies (e.g. schools, health, mental health, parenting support, substance misuse services, housing) as set out in the child protection plan.
  • Review progress against planned outcomes set out in the child protection plan, updating them as necessary with the support of the core group.
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