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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 should parents do first if they receive a letter before proceedings?

After receiving a letter before proceedings there are seven things parents should do:

  1. Contact a solicitor specialising in children law (see How can a parent find a solicitor and what exactly is their role in the pre-proceedings process?)
  2. Note the date of the pre-proceedings meeting and ask the solicitor to go with them
  3. Talk to the solicitor before the meeting about what they will say to children’s services about changes they are going to make to help keep the child safe
  4. Let the social worker know that they will be going to the meeting
  5. Talk to wider family and friends about what support they can give to help address the concerns
  6. Speak with wider family and friends to find out if anyone could care for the child in the short (or long) term if this becomes necessary
  7. Ask the child’s social worker to arrange a family group conference (FGC).
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