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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Can a parent with a mental health condition get help from an advocate or supporter in meetings with children’s services?

At times, parents may find it hard to participate in meetings organised by their child’s social worker and others. A parent or carer who feels like this may find it easier if they are supported by an advocate. Or if they are helped by a supporter.

An advocate is usually someone independent who can help a parent or carer have their voice heard when plans or decisions are being made about their child. A supporter could be a friend of the family who is not directly involved in your current situation. That person can come to meetings and help them say what they would like to say.

An advocate (or supporter) can help a parent or carer to:

  • Prepare for meetings with social workers
  • Ask the social worker questions
  • Speak up and help get their point of view across
  • Reach agreements/negotiate with social workers
  • Challenge social workers or others (in a constructive way) if mistakes have been made or what they are saying is not agreed with
  • Remember what was said and agreed at a meeting and help plan what to do next.

Whether a parent or carer can have an advocate depends on the precise situation.

Open or download this table to find out more.

Note that only where a parent or carer’s mental health condition is classed as a disability may the right to have an advocate arise.

More detailed advice about advocacy and advocates

Parents or carers who want to bring an advocate to a meeting with children’s services may want to visit our Top tips and templates page to:

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Our funding means we can currently only help 4 in 10 people

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