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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Placement order

A placement order is a court order that allows children’s services to place a child with prospective adopters. Before prospective adopters can make their application for an adoption order, the child must be ‘placed’ with them for a certain period. This cannot be done without a placement order, unless the parents formally agree to the child being adopted. Once the child has lived with the prospective adopters for 10 continuous weeks, they can apply for an adoption order.

The court will only make a placement order when it is convinced that adoption is what is best for the child. All other realistic options will have been ruled out. This includes the child being cared for by their parents but also their wider family and friends’ network. The court can make a placement order even if the child’s parents do not agree.

Please note that this is not the same as foster for adoption. See foster for adoption definition for more information.

For more information see our advice pages on:


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