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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Supervised contact

Supervised contact is when a child spends time with someone close to them who they do not live with (usually a parent or other family member). It may be overseen by a professional or family member. Contact may be supervised to make sure that the child is safe, and the contact is in their best interests.

There are many reasons why social workers might think contact should be supervised. For example, if a parent has problems with drug or alcohol misuse, a social worker may be concerned about their ability to safely care for a child without support. The social worker or court has to make sure the person having contact does not do anything that might harm or upset the child.

Supervised contact usually takes place in a neutral venue, such as a contact centre. It can also take place in the community. For example the parent, child and contact supervisor might go to the park or out for a meal. It can also take place in a relative or foster carer’s home. The person having contact will be told in advance how long the contact session will take place for.

The person supervising contact often makes notes about what happens during contact. These written observations are often used to inform social work planning, and can be used as evidence in court.

Supervised contact is not the same as ‘supported contact’. Unlike supervised contact, supported contact does not involve close monitoring of the interactions between parent and child.

Supported contact is usually used for separated families when there is some acrimony between the parents, but there is no specific risk to the child.

Supported contact is usually provided by a local charity or volunteers. They will oversee lots of different families having contact, or just help with a handover, so that parents do not need to come into contact with one another.

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

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