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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What is good practice when doing initial assessments?

The law does not say how an initial assessment of family and friends should be done. There are no minimum standards. But Family Rights Group developed a good practice guide. And in 2020 we developed an extra guide about carrying out initial assessments during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The guides are for children’s services departments and social workers. But family members may wish to mention, or show, the guide to:

  • The child’s social worker, or
  • The social worker doing the initial assessment if a different person.

The guides are available to open or download here.

You can open or download our Initial assessments: five good practice points table. This shares a quick summary of five good practice points for doing initial assessments. These are drawn from the two guides. It may be helpful to keep a copy with you as the assessment process takes place. And once you have a copy of the initial assessment report.

See also Can a negative initial assessment be challenged? if worried about the way an assessment has been done. Or concerned about the conclusion it reached.

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