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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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Staying put is a duty on children’s services. It is about helping young people to stay with their foster carers after they reach 18 and are no longer looked after. It applies even if the young person has been looked after in the care system by a kinship carer.

The duty is in section 23CZA of the Children Act 1989. It says children’s services should:

  • Where consistent with the young person’s welfare, maintain a former fostering arrangement after the young person reaches 18. This would only be done if both the young person and their foster carer agree that the living arrangement should continue.
  • Monitor the staying put arrangement; and
  • Provide advice, assistance and support to a young person who is a ‘former relevant’ child and the foster parent so that the arrangement can continue until the young person is 21. Support from children’s services must include financial support (see section 23CZA(4) of the Children Act 1989).

The details of all these types of support can be found in our Children’s services duties to young people leaving care advice sheet.

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