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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When can a complaint be made?

A complaint should be made within one year of the action or decision that is the subject of the complaint (see Regulation 9(1) of the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations 2006).

A complaint can also still be made even if it is more than a year since the action or decision. However, the complainant will have to explain the reason for the delay. There is a risk that a children’s service could refuse to deal with the complaint if it is not fair or possible to do so, given the time that has passed (Regulation 9(2) of the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations 2006).

If a court case about a child is ongoing, it is advisable to seek legal advice before making a complaint. It may be the subject of the complaint is best dealt with as an issue by the court. It may be a complaint could affect legal arguments within the court. Or it may be the complaint is best made shortly after the case has finished. These are considerations on which the solicitor involved in the case can help.

A complaint can still be made during the court case. But children services may decide not to look at the complaint if the same issue will be investigated and decided by the court

(See regulation 8 of the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure Regulations 2006) and Getting the best from complaints, 2006 at paragraph 2.5.2).

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