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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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When a placement order is made: can birth family contact continue?

Arrangements for who a child stays in touch with or sees are often called contact arrangements There is no duty children’s services to allow reasonable contact between the parents and the child once a placement order has been made. If a contact order has been in place, this will no longer apply. This is because the placement order brings that contact order to an end.

But a child may continue to have face to face contact with their parents and other family members after a placement order is made. But:

  • This may be at a reduced level
  • This may gradually reduce as the time for the child to move to be introduced to and live with the prospective adopters approaches
  • Often, direct contact will end ahead of child moving to live with prospective adopters.

What is in place will depend on what arrangements for contact the Family Court approved at the end of the care and placement order proceedings. And the arrangements should be included in the child’s final care plan.

Will a court order for be made to say who a child stays in touch with once a placement order has been made?

The Family Court can make an order requiring the prospective adopter to allow the parent to have ongoing contact with the child. These orders are made under section 26 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. But they are very rarely made. This means that decisions about post-adoption contact are usually at the discretion (choice) of the adoptive parents.

What about the views of the parents about contact?

Parents and carers whose children are being adopted should try to think about post-adoption contact. And what they would like to happen.

They can talk to the social worker about this when they are putting together a plan of adoption. Parents can also ask if the prospective adopters can be asked if they would like to meet with the parents. It will be up to the prospective adopters whether they agree to this or not. They should ask the child’s social worker about this.

For more information about this can be found in our Post-Adoption Contact advice sheet.

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