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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Young carer

A young carer is a young person under the age of 18 years who:

  • Provides care to another person, or
  • Intends to provide care for another person, and
  • Is not providing that care as part of their paid employment or formal ‘voluntary work’.

A young carer may be looking after a parent, another relative or someone else they live with.  This could be because their family member is ill for example. Or be struggling with a drug or alcohol dependency.

A young carer may be helping with things such as:

  • Practical tasks, such as cooking and cleaning.
  • Personal and physical care, such as helping their parent to wash or get out of bed.
  • Emotional support.
  • Caring for their brother and sisters or other young relatives in the home.

The law requires children’s services to do an assessment to find out if it is appropriate for the young carer to provide care. Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 places a duty children’s services in England to take “reasonable steps” to identify young carers in their area.  This means they shouldn’t just wait for a young person or their family to come forward.

For more information about young carers and the help available for them see our Young Carers advice sheet.

For more information about young carers and the help available for them see our advice on:

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

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