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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How can a parent find a solicitor and what exactly is their role in the pre-proceedings process?

A parent or other person with parental responsibility will be able to get advice from their solicitor during the pre-proceedings process. Parents should find a solicitor who is a specialist in children law. The solicitor will be able to provide advice for free.  Parents just need to give them a copy of the pre-proceedings letter.

To find a solicitor, search using the ‘how to find a solicitor’ function on the Law Society website.  Look for someone who is a child law specialist. Or who has Children Law Accreditation. For information about working with a solicitor, please see our top tips guide Working with a solicitor.

The solicitor should:

  • Meet with the parent/carer before the pre-proceedings meeting
  • Go through the pre-proceedings letter with them
  • Take instructions from the parent/carer on the concerns children’s services have set out in the letter before proceedings
  • Explain the assessments and support that children’s services are proposing
  • Give advice
  • Speak with the lawyer for children’s services. And raise any queries with the lawyer for children’s services before the pre-proceedings meeting
  • Attend the pre-proceedings meeting with the parent
  • As assessments are ongoing, talk to the parent or carer if they have concerns or questions about the process.
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