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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PAMS assessment

PAMS stands for ‘parenting assessment manual software’. Social workers using PAMS are specially-trained. PAMS assessments are used with parents or carers with learning difficulties or additional needs.

The aim is to assess the parent’s capacity, and to support them to learn parenting knowledge and skills. There is an emphasis on education and learning. The assessment takes place over a longer period than other assessments. It will take around 12-16 weeks.

Much of the PAMS assessment will focus on practical parenting skills. For example, planning ahead for a trip out with baby equipment. The assessment will look at the emotional care that a parent will give to a child. To do this, visual aids are used, such as pictures and photographs. Abstract scenarios are not used.

Halfway through the work there may be a review. This will consider whether any areas of parenting or care need specific focus. Additional support can then be put in place to focus on those.

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Our funding means we can currently only help 4 in 10 people

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