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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). For Textphone dial 18001 followed by the advice line number. 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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Kinship Assessment Guide – Members of the 2017 working group

Members of the 2017 working group

  • Paul Adams, Fostering Development Consultant, CoramBAAF
  • Noel Arnold, Then Director of Legal Practice, Coram Children’s Legal Centre
  • Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive, Family Rights Group
  • Judy Bell, Practice Support Consultant (North West), The Fostering Network
  • Susannah Bowyer, Assistant Director, Research in Practice
  • Ann Buchanan, Trustee, Kinship
  • Kathy Butcher, Nagalro
  • Elizabeth Cape Cowens, Then Solicitor, Blackfords LLP (Previously Bindmans LLP)
  • Martha Cover, Then Head of Coram Chambers and Co-Chair, Association of Lawyers for Children
  • Kelli Eboji, Acting Principal Officer, Looked After Children and Permanency Service, Children and Young People, London Borough of Brent
  • Richard Green, Then National Child Care Policy Manager, Cafcass
  • Anna Gupta, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Social Work, Royal Holloway
  • Katy Halliday, Assistant Team Manager, Safeguarding and Support, London Borough of Hounslow
  • Andrea Hopkins, Then Legal Adviser, Family Rights Group
  • Bev Hendricks, Nagalro
  • Pam Ledward, Principal Social Work Adviser (Policy), Family Rights Group
  • Bridget Lindley, Deputy Chief Executive and Principal Legal Adviser, Family Rights Group (until her death 2 March 2016)
  • Uma Mehta, Chief Lawyer, London Borough of Islington
  • Andrew Pack, Care Lawyer, Brighton, and Hove City Council
  • Celia Parker, recently retired as Principal Social Worker for London Borough of Southwark
  • David Roth, Researcher, SCIE
  • John Simmonds OBE, Director of Policy, Research and Development, Coram Baaf and Chair of the Kinship Care Alliance
  • Steve Walker, Then Director of Children’s Services, Leeds City Council and representing Association of Directors of Children’s Services
  • Natasha Watson, Principal Lawyer, Brighton and Hove City Council

We are grateful to the engagement of officials from the Department for Education. A huge thank you is also due to Steve Flood for proofreading the guide and most importantly to the many family and friends carers who attended focus groups and meetings to inform the guide, and commented on its various drafts.

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