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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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Care Crisis Review: Media Engagement

Implementation of the Care Crisis Review’s recommendations is ongoing. However, significant progress has already been made in specific areas.

  • The Review’s recommendations are being incorporated in the Welsh Government’s Ministerial Advisory Group work programme.
  • Working Together 2018 Statutory guidance has been amended (new paras 9 and 10 on Page 9 in relation to the importance of a child-centred approach) to state “A child centred approach means keeping the child in focus when making decisions about their lives and working in partnership with them and their families. All practitioners should follow the principles of the Children Acts 1989 and 2004 – that state that the welfare of children is paramount and that they are best looked after within their families, with the parents playing a full part in their lives, unless compulsory intervention in family lives is necessary.”
  • The first report by parliamentarians specifically on kinship care has been published and encompasses many of the Care Crisis Review’s findings and recommendations.
  • In February 2019, the Ministry of Justice committed to extending the scope of legal aid to include special guardianship in a private law context by Autumn 2020 (the Government has subsequently extended this timetable due to the Covid Pandemic).
  • The Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board now has an extended remit to include special guardianship where the child had been looked after.
  • The What Works Centre has added a new Change Programme to reduce numbers of children in care through devolving budgets to social workers so they have more flexibility in providing tailored support to families.
  • Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division of the High Court has established the Public Law Working Group in response to the high volume of care order applications. A number of the Care Crisis Review’s proposed options for change are proposed in the Working Group’s draft report.
  • The recommendation on use of the best practice guidance on initial assessments of family and friends carers has been incorporated into interim guidance issued by the Family Justice Council which states the guide should be followed in all but exceptional circumstance. It is also positively referred to in the President of the Family Division of the High Court’s issuing of the public law working group’s report and best practice guidance on special guardianship orders.

Family Rights Group continues to raise awareness of the Care Crisis review in the media and local and national decision makers and to press for the full implementation of its recommendations.

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