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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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How should a young carer’s assessment be approached?

Children’s services must provide information about how the assessment will be carried out, so that those involved can participate effectively. Information about the assessment must be provided to:

  • The young carer
  • The person cared for
  • The young carer’s parents; and
  • Any other person whom the young carer or a parent of the young carer requests should participate in the assessment.

Wherever possible, the information about the assessment should be provided before the assessment takes place. It should be given in an easy to follow format. This will help to make sure the young carer can understand.

Children’s services must do the assessment in a way which is fair. It should take into account the needs and circumstances of the young carer. It is likely that the social worker will want to speak to the young carer on their own, as well as speaking to teachers and other adults who know them.

Children’s services should use a ‘whole family’ approach. This means they should look at whether the young carer’s needs could be reduced if additional support were provided to the person being cared for. Or, if care can be provided by someone else in the family other than the young person.

If children’s services are carrying out another assessment, either of the child, or the person being cared for, they may combine the assessments. They can only do this if the young carer and the person being cared for agree. If any assessments are combined, they must still separately identify the needs and wishes of each person who is being assessed.

Who should be involved in a young carers assessment?

The assessment must involve:

  • The young carer
  • The young carer’s parents and
  • Any person who the young carer, or a parent of the young carer, requests should participate in the assessment.
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