How to contact us for advice

Find out more

Telephone Handler
Close form

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.

Telephone Handler

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.

Family Rights Group
Cover Your Tracks
Generic filters
Exact matches only

Police protection

The police have the power to remove a child to a place of safety in an emergency. Their power to remove the child is set out in section 46 of the Children Act 1989. The powers can be used in emergencies, where a child might suffer significant harm if they were not removed. For example, this power might be used if police are called to a home and discover that a young child has been left there alone. They may also use this power to keep a child in a specific place. For example, in hospital.

Social workers may ask the police to use police protection if they are worried that a child is in immediate danger, but they do not have time to apply to the court for an emergency protection order. Such a request should only be made if there is no other option.

When a child is removed by the police under police protection, they will ask children’s services to look after the child. If social workers do not think it will be safe for the child to return home after 72 hours, they will apply to the court for an order. Children’s services can only continue to keep the child away from home if the court makes an emergency protection order or interim care order. The other option is if the parents (or whoever has parental responsibility) agree to their child being voluntarily accommodated.

While the child is under police protection, parental responsibility remains with the parents (or anyone else who has parental responsibility). The police or children’s services should allow the parents (or any person the child was living with immediately before being taken into police protection), ‘reasonable’ contact with the child, as long as they believe this is in the child’s best interests.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Care (and related) proceedings

People pie chart

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

Your donation will help more families access expert legal advice and support from Family Rights Group.

Donate Now