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). 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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Can families choose whether to have an early help assessment?

Yes. Early help assessments are voluntary. This means that parents or carers do not have to agree to have an assessment. Remember, early help aims to prevent problems getting worse. So, early help services may prevent the child and family’s needs escalating. They may help prevent the need for children’s services to become involved.

If a parent or carer feels that they do not want an early help assessment it may be a good idea for them to:

  • Take time to think about any worries they have about the assessment
  • Note down their worries and any questions
  • Speak to the person who is suggesting the assessment (or another practitioner) about these
  • Ask for further information about the assessment process
  • Ask for further information about what may happen after the assessment.

If a parent or carer does not agree to an assessment, the practitioner who suggested it may:

  • Become more worried
  • Become concerned that the family and child will not get the help they need
  • Worry that the child and family may struggle, and things may get worse
  • Make a referral to children’s services about their concerns.

See our Children’s services page for more information about the different ways children’s services can become involved with children and their families.

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Our funding means we can currently only help 4 in 10 people

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