How to contact us for advice

Find out more

Telephone Handler
Close form

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.

Telephone Handler

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.

Exit
Family Rights Group
Cover Your Tracks
Generic filters
Exact matches only

Family Rights Group’s response to the Ministry of Justice report (entitled Legal Support: The Way Ahead)

Published: 7th February 2019

2 minute read

In response to the Ministry of Justice report (entitled Legal Support: The Way Ahead), Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group commented:

“It is extremely welcome that Ministers at the Department for Education and Ministry of Justice have listened to some of Family Rights Group’s concerns and are taking steps to address some significant current injustices within our child welfare and family law system.

It is clearly unjust that some parents are not legally represented in proceedings that could result in their child being adopted. It is right that the Government is proposing to address this iniquity by bringing forward proposals by summer 2019 to extend eligibility for non-means tested legal aid to parents opposing placement or adoption orders.

It is also clearly unjust that some relatives, such as grandparents or siblings, do not have access to free legal advice or representation when trying to secure a Special Guardianship Order for a child, as an alternative to the child ending up in the care system or being adopted. It is therefore right that the Government is proposing to extend the scope of legal aid to include Special Guardianship Orders in private law. Family Rights Group looks forward to contributing to, and commenting on proposals that the Government will be drawing up by autumn 2019 to extend the scope of legal aid to include Special Guardianship Orders in private family law.

A survey of family members with experience of the child welfare and family justice system was undertaken in 2018, as part of the Care Crisis Review. Only 17 per cent of the 709 respondents said they had the information and legal advice they needed to understand their rights and options when the local authority was involved with their family. 75 per cent said they did not. In 2017/18 more than 17,000 people tried to call Family Rights Group’s specialist free legal advice service, sadly lack of funding meant that we could only answer one in three callers. Today’s Government report is a step forward but there remain many families who will still be unable to get the early help they need to maximise the chances of their child living safely and securely within the family network. We therefore look forward to working with the Ministry of Justice, Department for Education and the Law Society to securing significantly greater improved access to family legal aid for vulnerable families and extended funding for Family Rights Group’s advice service.”

People pie chart

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

Your donation will help more families access expert legal advice and support from Family Rights Group.

Donate Now