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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Threshold criteria

The threshold criteria are facts that must be proved during care proceedings before a court can consider making either a care order or a supervision order. In other words, children’s services must prove to the court that a ‘threshold’ has been met.

The threshold criteria are set out in Section 31(2) of the Children Act 1989.

Children’s services must be able to prove to the court that:

  • The child is suffering (or is likely to suffer) significant harm, AND
  • That harm is the result of the care being given to the child at home OR to the child being beyond the parents’ control.

(In this context, harm can mean the child witnessing domestic abuse in the home or witnessing another person being ill-treated.)

For more information see our advice pages on:

Care (and related) proceedings

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