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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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How are contact arrangements reviewed for a child who is in care under a court order?

Once a child is looked after in the care system, children’s services must prepare a care plan for them and keep that plan under regular review.  Reviewing a care plan includes reviewing the arrangements for contact set out in the care plan.  This will happen at a looked after child review. Sometimes parents and carers may hear this being shortened to just LAC review. This process will happen whether the child is looked after under a voluntary arrangement or under a court order.

Reviews must take place regularly in this way:

The child’s social worker must talk to the independent reviewing officer (IRO) about contact arrangements. The independent reviewing officer is a social worker whose role is to make sure that children’s services are meeting the child’s needs.

The social worker must tell the independent reviewing officer about:

  • Any major change in contact arrangements
  • Any complaint by the child or parent.
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