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 should decisions about contact for a child in care be made? Who should be involved in them?

Before making contact arrangements for any looked after child, a social worker should carry out an assessment of the child’s needs. This is required by government regulations called The Care Planning Placement and Review (England) Regulations 2010 (see regulation 4(1)).

Government statutory guidance called The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review, says that:

  • The assessment should identify those people in the child’s network that it will be important for the child to be in contact with (see paragraph 2.81). This may include grandparents and brothers and sisters (whether those brothers and sisters are also in the care system or not).
  • ‘Parents should be involved in planning for contact prior to placement wherever possible’ (see paragraph 2.82). So, parents should be involved in the process of thinking through what contact arrangements will meet the child’s needs. This is an important way in which children’s services should be working in partnership with the family.
  • Then, before making decisions about contact arrangements children’s services must also consider the wishes and feelings of:
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