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). 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 should happen during a child in need assessment?

The assessment is a way for a social worker to understand a child’s situation. The process will help find out:

  • What needs the child has
  • Whether the child’s parents or carers can meet those needs
  • What extra help and services may help the child and family.

The social worker should look at what affects the child’s well-being. This could include looking at:

  • Relationships within the family
  • The help available from wider family, friends and the community
  • The family’s housing situation
  • Childcare arrangements.

Will any other assessments be carried out?

When assessing a child in need or providing services, other assessments may be needed.  This could be an assessment of the child’s educational needs. Or assessment by a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for example.  It may be an assessment by a local drug and alcohol agency if the parent has difficulties with substance misuse. All this work should be co-ordinated and planned well (see Working Together 2018, page 22, bullet point five).

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