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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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If a parent or carer needs time to recover, receive treatment, or cannot cope, can they ask for their child to go into foster care?

Yes, although children’s services may not agree that is best for the child.

To make this request there are certain steps a parent will need to take. They  will need to:

  • Ask for a child in need assessment
  • At the same time, explain how serious the problems are
  • Explain why the child needs to live elsewhere and what might happen if this isn’t possible.

This is a request for a child to become looked after in the care system under a voluntary arrangement. It is very important that parents and carers understand:

  • Exactly what this means The processes that should be followed and their rights
  • And the information that must be provided by children’s services in this situation.

See our Children in care under voluntary arrangements (section 20) page for further information and important advice. For further advice from Family Rights Group about a specific situation, visit our Parents forum.

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