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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Are the any tips for parents and carers who need to talk to their child’s social worker about the plans for contact?

If parents or carers want to make or change arrangements to see their child, they need to talk to their child’s social worker. Here are some tips that can help in those discussions:

  • Think through what sort of contact might be best the child. This might include seeing the child at their family home (rather than the foster carer’s home), or when others are around to help
  • Ask the social worker to put the more detailed arrangements for contact in a letter or email and keep a copy of this. This helps to make sure everyone is clear about the plans. Remember, key information about the contact arrangements should also be part of the child’s care plan
  • Keep a short note of how each visit goes. This could be in writing in a notebook. Or it could be a voice note on a phone. Having a note can be helpful to have for later meetings which how contact is going is discussed. Where contact is supervised and notes are taken, parents and carers are entitled to see copies of these contact notes.
  • If parents or carers face difficulty paying the costs of contact visits, they can ask the social worker for help with this. They can pay for things like travel, meals, or the cost of a special outings. It could be paid to anyone visiting the child, not just parents (see schedule 2, paragraph 16 of the Children Act 1989).
  • Share with the social worker some of the messages from research about what makes contact a positive experience for children and families. Perhaps pick the messages that seem most relevant to your situation.
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