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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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What does the Family Court look at when deciding whether to make an adoption order?

The Family Court:

  • Should not make an adoption order unless it is satisfied that there is no other suitable plan which meets the needs of the child and nothing else other than adoption will do
  • Can only make an adoption order if either:
    • The parents both consent (agree) to this, or
    • The court is satisfied it is in the child’s best interests to dispense with the need for parents’ consent and to go on and make the order
  • Must have as its paramount consideration the child’s welfare throughout their life – known as the welfare principle. Or the paramountcy principle (see section 1 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002)

Must also think about whether it should make an order setting out any arrangement for the child to keep in touch with members of the family. Or with others who are important to them (see section 46 (6) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002).

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