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

‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’ reforms

In February 2023, the Government published their plans for reforming children’s social care in an implementation strategy document called Stable Homes, Built on Love.

The plan responded to recommendations made by 3 independent reviews:

  • The independent review of children’s social care by Josh MacAlister
  • The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel into the tragic murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson
  • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) study into children’s social care provision

Our Five Big Asks on Children’s Social Care Reform

Ahead of publication, Family Rights Group called on the Government to commit to system-wide reform in the face of a crisis in the child welfare system.

We set out five key commitments we want to see from Government:

Summary graphics for 5 asks detailed

Read more

Our response to the Government's plans:

The Government’s strategy presents a positive vision for a ‘family-first’ approach to children’s social care, prioritising early family help and valuing the support wider family and friends can offer including as kinship carers.

We welcome the commitment to developing a national kinship care strategy and an ambition to ensure all children in care have positive relationships they can rely on.

However, the reforms and the funding announced fall alarmingly short of the scale of the crisis that is gripping children’s social care.

Read our initial response to the publication
Read our submission to the consultation on the plans
Read our response to proposed revisions to Working Together guidance

Engagement and influencing activity

We are working with families and practitioners to respond to the Government’s plans and influence their implementation.

  • Members of our parents and kinship carers panels met to consider the Government’s plans. Their responses fed directly into our consultation response and are shaping our influencing activity.
  • Our Chair, Angela Frazer-Wicks, is one of the lived experience representatives on the National Implementation Board
  • Members of our kinship carers’ panel are represented on the Department for Education’s newly expanded kinship reference group
  • In April 2023, we hosted a national kinship care workshop for carers across England to share their views directly with Government officials.
  • We are having ongoing discussions with senior politicians and government officials on kinship care, family group conferences, Lifelong Links, child protection and advice and advocacy provision.
  • Alongside others, we successfully influenced the Government to drop proposals made in the MacAlister Review for the removal of the independent chair at child protection conferences.
  • We have held a child protection roundtable with stakeholders in the sector and shared our concerns with officials about proposals to introduce ‘expert’ child protection social workers to co-work cases with a family support social worker
  • Our principal legal adviser, Caroline Lynch, met with Minister Claire Coutinho, the sector, and kinship carers to discuss what support is needed from Government. 
  • As part of our Time To Define kinship care campaign, we have published a proposed definition of kinship care and are working to persuade Government to enshrine the definition in legislation.
  • We have also launched our Same Love, Same Leave campaign for paid employment leave for kinship carers
  • Department for Education officials visited our advice service to see the impact of specialist advice for families
  • In March 2023, we brought together parents with experience of the child welfare system, children’s service leaders, and organisations with expertise in representing parents at child protection conferences to start developing a set of inclusive principles and standards for child protection parental representation services.
  • We successfully secured changes to legal aid to to parents whose children are subject to placement orders or adoption orders and to special guardians in private law proceedings. We continue to lobby for further legal aid reforms including publishing proposals in relation to deprivation of liberty cases.
  • Our Chief Executive, Cathy Ashley, gave evidence to the House of Lords Public Services Select Committee on the Government’s plans and where they could go further to deliver for children and families.
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