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). 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.

Family Rights Group
Cover Your Tracks
Generic filters
Exact matches only

Kinship Assessment Guide – Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Section 1. Introduction: Why initial family and friends care assessments (commonly known as viability assessments) matter

1.1 What is a viability assessment?
1.2 Why undertake a viability assessment?

Section 2. Principles and best practice

2.1 The principles underpinning a viability assessment

a) Conducted in a spirit of enquiry
b) Conducted in a spirit of partnership
c) Remain focused on the child and their needs and development
d) Evidence-based, and include analysis of the evidence
e) A legally sound viability assessment

2.2 Best practice in process and procedures

a) Identifying who to assess
b) When to assess
c) How to assess
d) Presenting the information

Section 3. Factors to consider during the assessment

a) Motivation
b) Understanding of the needs of the child and family
c) Age of carer
d) Accommodation
e) Employment status of carer
f) Finances
g) Health of carer
h) Lifestyle of carer and household members
i) Experience of parenting and significant other relationships
j) Criminal convictions
k) Relationship with child
l) Family dynamics and contact
m) Impact on other household members
n) Working relationships with professionals
o) Potential placement options

Section 4. Undertaking international viability assessments

4.1 International treaties and cooperation
4.2 Factors to consider in international viability assessments
4.3 Contact

Section 5. Forming a conclusion


Appendix A – Research evidence by Professor Joan Hunt
Appendix B – Family group conferences
Appendix C – Schedule and example template
Appendix D – Information sheet for families
Appendix E – Useful organisations
Delivering good practice initial assessments of family and friends carers in the context of Covid-19

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