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). 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 a residential assessment? What is a mother and baby foster placement?

A residential child and family assessment service

This is somewhere that can be used when there are worries a child may not be safe living with their parent after birth.  This type of placement is usually part of a Family Court interim care plan during care proceedings. But it can be part of earlier work with a family, outside of care proceedings.

It involves the parents’ ability to safely look after their children being assessed. Experienced practitioners should be involved in doing this. Families are supported to reflect on their parenting behaviour. And on how they can improve their parenting. Then, at the end of the assessment a report will:

  • Be prepared for the court
  • Express a view about whether the parent can care for their child in the future
  • Suggest help and support they may need.

A mother and baby fostering placement

This is also called a parent and child foster placement. It is a specialist type of foster placement. It often involves some assessment of a parent’s ability to care for their child. And should include some support for the parent. This may be practical or emotional support. Or both. This type of placement can be offered just before a baby is born. This is so support and parenting advice can be given prior to the birth. It can be helpful if a younger parent needs more intensive support.

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