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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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APPG on Kinship Care

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Kinship Care is a cross party group of MPs and Peers who share a common interest in championing kinship care and improving support for kinship carers. The group was established in March 2021 and Family Rights Group serve as the group’s secretariat.

The APPG seeks to raise awareness of kinship care and to promote policy and practice which supports more children to live safely within their family and friends network, when they cannot live with their parents. The group also seeks to improve support for kinship carers and to amplify the voices and experiences of children in kinship care and their families.

Message from the Chair – Andrew Gwynne MP

“Across the country, tens of thousands of kinship carers provide love, support and protection to children, but all too often they are forgotten, facing a system that doesn’t always work.

“As a group, we are determined to change this, improving the care system so that kinship carers are at the very heart, rather than an afterthought.”

The group’s key priorities for 2023/24 are:

Influence the national kinship care strategy

The Government has committed to publishing the first national kinship care strategy by the end of 2023, which is a significant development. The strategy proposes to clearly set out the Government’s position on kinship care and comprehensive plans to better support children and carers. The APPG is working to influence this strategy to ensure that it meets the moment and delivers the change children and families need.

Lobby on the APPG’s 2023 legal aid inquiry proposals

The APPG’s 2022 inquiry on legal aid and advice found that the majority of current and prospective kinship carers do not have access to the legal advice they need. The child welfare and family justice systems are failing to involve, inform and support family and friends who wish to put themselves forward to care. 82% of kinship carers did not feel they knew enough about their legal options to make an informed decision about the best options for their kinship child. This has lasting consequences for their entitlement to support and who can make key decisions about the child. The Government has recently extended means and merits tested legal aid to special guardians in private law cases which is a positive step forward. However, significant gaps remain.

Kinship care and the workplace

Half of kinship carers surveyed for the APPG’s 2022 inquiry gave up their job to take on the kinship care children. A further 29% of those in work reduced their hours. The Government has committed to working across government to explore possible additional workplace entitlements. The APPG will work to ensure this commitment delivers the change kinship families need. For example, carers and the sector have long been pushing for paid employment leave akin to adoption leave which would allow carers time to settle the child into their home, maintain their participation in the workforce and reduce reliance on welfare benefits.

If you would like to receive updates from the APPG about future meetings and other activity, please contact jhall@frg.org.uk. You can also follow the group on Twitter @APPGKinshipCare.

The APPG’s data protection and privacy policy can be found here.

The secretariat to the APPG is provided by Family Rights Group. The APPG has no funds. All financial benefits are provided in kind. See the Group’s Income and Expenditure statement 2022-23. See also register entries for 22-23 and 21-22. Family Rights Group’s funding sources can be found here.

This is not an official website of Parliament. It has not been approved by either House. APPGs are informal groups of Parliamentarians with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed are those of the group.

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