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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Who will do an early help assessment? What information will they include?

A lead practitioner will do the assessment to work out what help is needed. They may be a:

  • GP
  • School nurse
  • Teacher
  • Health visitor
  • Another practitioner.

They should work with the family to identify local services to provide the right help and to:

  • Develop an early help plan
  • Act as an advocate for the family
  • Make sure the family can access support (‘coordinating’ the early help).

Information in a written early help assessment may include:

  • Basic information about the family such as who lives in the home, who in the family and friends network may provide support
  • Details of the child’s needs including any special educational needs, disabilities, caring responsibilities
  • The reasons for the early help assessment
  • The practitioners and services involved
  • The strengths of the family (what is working well)
  • The needs of the family, including what support they feel they need.

The end of the assessment report should include the early help plan.  See our FAQs on early help services and plans for more information.

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