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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Top Tips and Templates

This section of our website has practical tips and tools for parents and other family members involved with children’s services or the Family Court. The resources include guides to working with different practitioners and other top tips. It also includes template letters to help with writing to children’s services about different issues. You can adapt these letters to your specific circumstances.

Our four ‘Working with..’ guides

These aim to support families when they need to work with a solicitor, social worker, parent or child advocate in the interests of the child.

Our guides for families and practitioners

Template letters for families

Our template letters aim to help parents, kinship carers and others to write to children’s services about issues which are concerning to them.  The template letters can be adapted to your personal circumstances. They have blank spaces so family members can fill in:

  • Their own details
  • The details of the child (or children) and
  • The details of the children’s services department involved before sending the letter.

Parents and other family members may want to write to children’s services about a range of things. Our template letters do not cover every single situation or matter families may want to write about. But they do deal with some of the most common ones. Note that:

  • Individual circumstances vary a lot. Some situations can be very complex. Our letters are a guide only. They are not a substitute for legal advice about a specific case
  • Sometimes families will wish for, and need, their letters to be treated as a formal complaint and to make this clear in their letter. But there may be some situations where families are writing as a first step. Or to raise an initial concern and are not yet making a formal complaint yet. What is best will they depend on the precise situation
  • The timescales included in the letters for children’s services to respond are suggestions only. Families may want to think about what is reasonable in their situation. And depending upon the urgency of the matter
  • In some cases, the suggested timescale for a response reflects the period children’s services should initially respond to a complaint rather than fully address the complaint.

For more information about making complaints to children’s services see our Complaints page. If looking for advice about complaining about the child protection process, you may want to start with the Complaining about a child protection process section on our Child protection page may be useful to look at too.

Top tips and templates page feedback request:

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