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 information may help understand how a mental health condition affects a family?

It is very important that accurate and up to date information about a parent or carer’s mental ill-health is available. Having this helps to make sure a family’s situation is properly understood. It can help to get the right help and support in place.

Information that may be important and useful is set out below:

  • Information from a GP, other treating doctors, community psychiatric nurse or others involved in supporting a parent or carer
  • If children’s services are involved, they may ask the parent or carer to engage with either a psychological assessment or a psychiatric assessment. The type of assessment will depend on what the nature of the mental health condition is. The assessment report can help children’s services and parents gain a better understanding of the condition and its affects. The report can include advice about how best to help
  • Children can have important insight into their parent or carer’s mental ill-health and how it affects family life. Where it is appropriate, children may be able to share their insights so that these are included in assessment work and planning
  • Wider family and friends may have important information and insights to share. They may be able to offer help and support; this should be explored. A family group conference can be a good way to do this. A family group conference is a family-led planning meeting. It brings together the whole family, and others who are important to the child. Together, they make a plan for the child. See our Family group conferences: advice for families page for further information.
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