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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 options for a child’s long-term care might be looked at during care proceedings?

The final decisions that are made in care proceedings are about these things:

  • The best long-term care arrangements for the child
  • Who the child should have an ongoing relationship with and stay in touch with. This includes who the child should see, how often and other such arrangements. This is often referred to as ‘contact arrangements’
  • Whether any kind of court order is needed to put those arrangements in place.

Even if everyone involved in the case agrees what the right plan for the child is, the final decision must be made by the Family Court. For information about how the court has to approach making decisions see What does the Family Court have to look at when making decisions about a child?  See our The stages of care proceedings page information and advice about the process of care proceedings. This explains at what stage final decisions may be made and what is involved.

The options for a child’s long-term care that might be looked at during care proceedings will depend on the child’s needs and the precise situation.

Below we show some of the options and final plans for children that often come before the Family Court.

What options for a child’s long-term care might be looked at during care proceedings?

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