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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Stage one: Informal problem-solving

Stage one is the informal problem-solving stage

It involves a social worker, team manager or children’s services complaints officer. That person will review the details of a complaint.

Children’s services should provide a response within working 10 days (see Regulation 14 of the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations 2006). This could be:

  • Suggestions about how to address the issues raised, or
  • Suggestions for informal problem-solving.

If children’s services require more time, they should try to agree that with the person making the complaint. The person making the complaint is known as the complainant.

If the complaint is dealt with to the satisfaction of the complainant, the process will end at this point. Children’s services must write to the complainant setting out what has been agreed to resolve the complaint (see regulation 15 of the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations 2006, and Getting the best from complaints 2006 at paragraph 3.5.7). This is known as the terms of resolution.

If the complainant is not satisfied with the terms of resolution, the complainant should be told that they can proceed to Stage 2 and seek a formal investigation (see regulations 15(2) and 17 of the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations 2006).

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