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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How can parents best raise questions and concerns about contact with the independent reviewing officer? Do they have to wait for a looked after child review meeting to do this?

No. Concerns can be raised with the independent reviewing officer at any time. Things don’t have to await the next looked after child review.  A parent can contact the independent reviewing officer directly. The independent reviewing officer must then consider whether a review is needed and let the parent or carer know.

These tips for contacting the independent reviewing officer may help:

  • Contact can be made by telephone. Or in writing, by letter or email
  • If the contact details for the independent reviewing officer haven’t already been shared the child’s social worker can be asked for these
  • If sending an email or a letter, it is a good idea to:
    • Include a date by which the independent reviewing officer is requested to confirm they have safely received the letter or email
    • Say how soon you would like a full response from the independent reviewing officer (how long is reasonable will depend on how urgent the situation is. But non urgent matters, asking for a full response within 10 working days may be sensible
  • Keep a record of any discussions with the independent reviewing officer including:
    • Noting down the date and time of any discussions in a notebook or diary. Or in a voice note
    • Keeping a copy of any emails of letters sent, and any received from the independent reviewing officer
  • Parents and carers may also find it helpful to read our guide to Working with a social worker for more guidance on the best ways to resolve concerns. Parents and carers may want to raise concerns about contact with the Independent Reviewing Officer. See the Reviewing arrangements for a child in care for more information about the role of the IRO.
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