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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). 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 a parent or carer of a child looked after under a voluntary arrangement complain about their child’s independent reviewing officer (IRO) or about a review?

Government statutory guidance called The IRO Handbook at paragraph 6.1 says:

‘One of the key functions of the IRO is to resolve problems arising out of the care planning process’.

This means they have a key role to play where there are concerns or disagreements about a child’s care plan. Or about where the child lives and is cared for.

But there may be times when a parent is unhappy with decisions made during the looked after review process. This might be to do with how the review meeting was conducted. Or could be about a decision made at the review.  In this situation, parents can consider making a complaint to children’s services.

See our Complaints page for easy to follow information about who can make a complaint to children’s services. And what the process involves.

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