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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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What is the best way to prepare for a pre-proceedings meeting?

The most important thing to do is to find a solicitor.

Parents and carers should be able to meet with their solicitor before the meeting. If the meeting is on a date the parent or their solicitor cannot make, the solicitor may speak with the children’s services lawyer to change the date.

Once a parent has found a solicitor, they can next read through the pre-proceedings letter again. It is a good idea to:

  • Read through the concerns that are set out in the pre-proceedings
  • Note down any questions they about what is said or anything that isn’t clear
  • Note down anything that they think is not accurate
  • Think about what extra help or support from children’s services or other agencies might help to improve things
  • Discuss what is happening with the wider family and friends network
  • Think about how family and friends might be able to help.

Discussing things with family and friends can be, or feel, difficult. But it will be helpful to involve them early on in the process. See How should re wider family and friends involved in the pre-proceedings process?

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