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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Written agreement

A written agreement is a document which should set out the things the parents and children’s services have said they will or will not do.  What is included will depend on the situation and the concerns that children’s services have.  Examples of what written agreements can include are that:

  • Children’s services will put in place a particular kind of extra help or support by a certain date
  • The parents may agree that they will not drink alcohol when the child is in their care
  • The parents agree to take part in a parenting assessment.

Any written agreement should be written in a clear way, using plain language. If it needs to be translated into another language this should happen.  If an interpreted is needed to make sure the agreement is fully understood, children’s services should arrange this.

Parents and carers should always be given enough time to read an agreement. And they should always able to ask questions about it.  Children’s services should never put someone under pressure to enter into a written agreement. A parent should not sign a written agreement without reading it carefully and where appropriate taking legal advice.

Important: If the agreement is being made as part of a voluntary arrangement for a child to come into the care system, see our Children coming into the care system under voluntary arrangements (section 20) page for further information.

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