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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Temporary kinship foster carer

A temporary kinship foster carer is a relative or friend who is not an approved foster carer but who is asked by children’s services to take on the care of a child in an emergency.

The social worker will have to find out certain information about the temporary foster carer and their household before the child is placed with them. If there is not time for this, these checks will be done as soon as possible after the child has been placed with them.

This will include police checks of the carer and any other adults in the household. Once the social worker has enough information to decide that the carer is a suitable person to care temporarily for the child, they will be approved to foster the child for up to 16 weeks. This can be extended (once only) for an extra 8 weeks, to a total of 24 weeks.

If the temporary carer wants to go on fostering the child after the 24 weeks is up, children’s services should assess them to be a fully approved foster carer. If they are not fully approved as foster carer by the end of the 16 weeks (or in some cases 24 weeks) the child should not remain in their care.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Kinship carers

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