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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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What help can a young person get from children’s services when they leave a voluntary arrangement?

Local authorities (councils) must have regard to seven corporate parenting principles when supporting looked after children and care leavers. These apply to children and young people in care under court orders and to those looked after under voluntary arrangements.

These key principles must be considered by local councils at all times when supporting young people leaving care.

There are different categories of young people leaving care that children’s services owe extra duties to. These are:

  • Eligible children
  • Relevant children
  • Former relevant children
  • Qualifying young person.

The table below shows some key information about each:

Our advice sheet Children’s services duties to young people leaving care includes an easy to use chart explaining each different category and the related children’s services legal duties.

Some young people come to the United Kingdom as Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children. This is sometimes shortened to UASC. If they are under the age of 16, leaving care duties apply to them. This is the case whatever their immigration status is.  But when they reach the age of 18 their situation is different.  See our Children’s services duties to unaccompanied asylum seeking children advice sheet for information.

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