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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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Does someone who wants to become a kinship carer for a child need to apply for a Family Court order saying they can care for the child?

There are different types of kinship care arrangements. Not all involve a Family Court order being made. But the type of kinship care arrangement affects:

  • What practical and financial support is available to the carer and child
  • The extent of support likely to be provided and
  • Who has parental responsibility and can make decisions about the child.

It is therefore very important to have the right information and advice about the different options.

It is a good idea to start by looking at our Types of kinship care arrangement section. In that section there is:

  • An image and short descriptions describing each different type of kinship care arrangement
  • More detailed information and advice about each option.
  • Our Types of kinship care arrangement: quick reference table. This can be used to look at and compare all the different kinship care options.

For more information and advice about what is involved in apply for a court order, you may want to:

  • Look at the DIY guides on our Advice sheets page. This includes a Step by step explanation on the legal and practical process involved in apply for a child arrangements order, or special guardianship order. They include information about the different costs relating to making an application for an order, and how those can be funded. They include information for anyone who has not been able to get legal aid or solicitor to help them.
    • 2c) DIY special guardianship orders: care proceedings
    • 2d) DIY special guardianship orders: private law proceedings
    • 2f) DIY Child arrangements orders: information for kinship carers.

And for options for legal advice are:

  • Post a question on our Kinship Carers Forum and receive advice from one of Family Rights Group’s expert advisers
  • If needing further or more detailed advice, call Family Rights Group’s specialist legal and practice advice line on 0808 801 0366 (the advice line is open Monday to Friday, from 9.30 am to 3 pm excluding bank holidays)
  • Find a solicitor who is a specialist in children law. Or who has Children Law Accreditation. To find a solicitor, search using the ‘how to find a solicitor’ function on the Law Society website. See our Working with a solicitor guide on our Top tips and templates page for more information about finding and working with a solicitor.
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