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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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Impact of Lifelong Links

Director of Children’s Services at Hertfordshire County Council, Jenny Coles, reflects on the value Lifelong Links has had for children and families and the social work practice system in Hertfordshire.

Some of the key findings of the Lifelong Links evaluation include:

  • 78% children and young people felt an improved sense of identity.
  • Statistically significant positive impact on young people remaining in their foster care or children’s home following Lifelong Links. 74% children and young people remained in their foster care or children’s home after Lifelong Links compared with 41% of a comparator group.
  • Cost benefit analysis showed a return on investment of monetisable outcomes is £1.02 for every £1 spent.

Reducing the risk of homelessness

A study undertaken by the Policy Institute at King’s College London for the Centre for Homelessness Impact has shown that Lifelong Links could be an important tool in preventing homelessness among young care leavers. Across multiple analyses, researchers found a 10% reduction in the risk of a young care leaver being assessed as at risk of homelessness in their most robust model. You can read more here.

Family Rights Group also produce a quarterly impact report into Lifelong Links based on local authority reports and case studies. The following is a summary of our findings to date:

  • Increase in family and friends connections. On average children and young people increased their social networks from seven to 26 people.
  • 84% of children who asked are now reconnected with their wider family networks.
  • 94% of children who asked are seeing carers, former professionals and other important people including old school friends and godparents.
  • Almost one fifth of children wanted to find out more about their family history and where they came from. One Lifelong Links coordinator was able to trace one young person’s family tree back to the 1850’s.
  • 11% of children had specific requests which were important to them, such as if their old pet was still alive, a photograph of themselves with their siblings, a plan for when they left care or to receive birthday cards. In all cases the Lifelong Links coordinator was successful, apart from one. That was when a young person wanted to return to a previous placement.

You can download the latest impact report here.

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

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