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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Mothers who are struggling and need extra support or whose children are involved with children’s services, need to understand their rights and options. This page aims to help.

Parental responsibility

How children’s services should work with mothers

Children’s services have two main roles. These are to support children and families. And to keeping vulnerable children safe.

There are different ways they may become involved with families in England. Some types of involvement are voluntary. So, children’s services only become involved if the parent(s) wants this. But the law says if a child may be at risk of harm, children’s services must take steps to support or protect them. This is even if the parent or carer does not want that to happen.

Whatever the precise situation children’s services should work in partnership with children and their families.  Government statutory guidance called Working Together 2018, makes this clear (see page 9 at paragraph 11).

Our What? pages explain more about how children’s services work in England and how they can become involved with families. The pages provide easy to follow information about the law and child welfare processes that families may come across. This includes the child protection process, pre-proceedings, care proceedings, information about children who are looked after in the care system and much more. Starting with the Children’s services page can be a good idea.

Advice when children’s services are concerned about domestic abuse

If children’s services are concerned about domestic abuse it is important that mothers understand what is meant by this. And that they understand the ways in which children’s services might become involved.

Mothers in this situation may feel scared and uncertain about what is happening. Our Domestic abuse page aims to help. It provides easy to follow information and includes FAQs for mothers to answer questions mothers most often have. Click the button below to take a look.

Raising concerns and making complaints

Sometimes mothers may be worried about the decisions children’s services are makings. Or about how decisions are being made. Mothers in this situation may need tips about how to raise concerns. Our tips for Working with social workers may be useful. And for mothers who feel they may needo make a formal complaint to children’s services our Complaints page is a good place to start.

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