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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Southwark judgment

This is a court decision made by the Court of Appeal in 2007. This judgment determined that when children’s services are involved in placing a child with kinship foster carers, then the child should be treated as a looked after child. This should be the case unless children’s services reached a clear alternative agreement with the carer at the time the placement was made.

The judgment is significant in terms of its implications in relation to the support children’s services must provide to families. It means that kinship foster carers must be assessed and approved in the same way as other, unrelated foster carers who work for children’s services. Importantly, it means that they must also be paid and supported in the same way.

Later judgments in relation to other cases have confirmed the same point.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Kinship carers

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