Shadow Children’s Minister visits Advice & Advocacy Service
Published: 22nd February 2023
4 minute read
Family Rights Group was delighted to welcome Helen Hayes MP, the Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, to visit the charity’s advice and advocacy service on Monday 20th February.
Helen and her staff met the services’ expert advisers and saw first-hand the charity’s work to keep children safely within their families. They discussed the challenges faced by the families who call the line and provided an insight into the importance of the advice they give.
The advice service provides free, specialist, independent advice to parents and kinship carers whose children are involved with children’s services. It helps families to understand their rights and options, navigate complex child welfare processes and get the support their child needs. By combining social care and legal expertise, the charity’s advisers are making a real difference to the lives of children and families.
A recent evaluation found that the specialist information and guidance provided by the service, leads to more children safely remaining in their families and results in significant savings for the state. By averting children from being subject to more intrusive and expensive state intervention including entering care, the service has saved the public purse nearly £15m the last two years.
The visit was followed by a discussion of how best to pursue system change, including greater focus on kinship care, tackling the scourge of domestic abuse, and protecting loving relationships for children in the care system. The advice service is primarily funded by the Department for Education.
Cathy Ashley, Family Rights Group’s chief executive, said:
“We were happy to welcome Helen and her staff to our service this morning to show the difference that access to free, specialist advice makes to families involved with the child welfare system. For families struggling with their own challenges, including domestic abuse and poverty, the child welfare system can too often be confusing or alienating. Family Rights Group’s free telephone advice service provides clarity, guidance, and support so that children are able to live safely within their families including in kinship care. We look forward to continuing to work with Helen and MPs from across the political spectrum to deliver life-changing support and pursue urgent reform.”
Thank you to @CathyAshley & the brilliant team at @FamilyRightsGp for meeting me this week & showing me the vital work of the helpline for families who are involved with children’s services. Independent specialist advice provided with care & compassion #KinshipCare #FamilySupport pic.twitter.com/wsbhyeacKc
— Helen Hayes 💙🌹 (@helenhayes_) February 23, 2023
Advice & Advocacy Service
Family Rights Group runs a free, independent and confidential advice service for parents, grandparents, relatives and friends including kinship carers in England.
Monday to Friday 9.30am-3pm (excluding Bank Holidays) 0808 801 0366 Textphone 18001 followed by the advice line number
Parent looking for information and advice, can also use our Parents’ Forum.
Kinship carers looking for information and advice, can also use our Kinship Carers’ Forum.
There is also a pilot webchat service where families can chat online to an adviser and get information and advice.