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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What is a young carer’s assessment? When must one be done?

A young carer’s assessment aims to find out if it is appropriate for the young carer to provide care for the person who needs the care. It is carried out by a social worker in children’s services.

Section 17 Children Act 1989 places a duty on children’s services in England to take “reasonable steps” to identify young carers in their area. This means they shouldn’t just wait for a young person or their family to come forward.

The duty to assess the needs of a young carer comes about if:

  • A local children’s services department identifies a young person who may need support due to their caring responsibilities
  • A young carer or their parent asks the local authority to assess their need for support
  • An assessment of a young carer has already been done but there has been a change in circumstances. This could be change relating to the young carer. Or it could be a change in the circumstances of the person they care for.

Do children’s services have to assess all young carers?

But children’s services do not have to assess all young carers. If the young carer does not appear to have support needs they don’t have to carry out an assessment.

If an assessment has already been done a new assessment only has to be carried out where:

  • An assessment has been carried out and:
    • the young carers needs have changed, or
    • the needs of the person they care for have changed or
    • there has been a change in circumstance.

(see section 96 of the Children and Families Act 2014).

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