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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Are there ‘rules’ children’s services have to follow when doing child in need assessments?

When doing a child in need assessment, children’s services should follow:

  • Government guidance about how to do ‘high quality’ assessments.
  • Their local protocol about how assessments in their area are to be done.
  • Their local threshold document. This should clearly explain how they should respond to the assessed needs of a child.

The table below explains more.

It is a good idea for parents and carers to ask the social worker doing the assessment for a copy of the local threshold document and the assessment protocol being used.

Will the same social worker always deal with the case?

Children’s services can be organised in different ways in different local areas. It is important to ask whether the same social worker will always deal with the child’s case or if there will be any change. It is possible that after first contact with children’s services a child’s case is transferred to another social work team.

Families may find a change of social worker upsetting, especially if they have spent time explaining everything to a previous social worker. Parents and carers should be able to feel confident that the new social worker has an understanding of the child and family’s situation.

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