How to contact us for advice

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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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Advocacy in Child Welfare

Research* shows that family advocates can help families to work in partnership with social workers in the interests of children.

Family Rights Group advisers have significant experience in advocating for parents and wider family members within the child welfare system.

We have produced Professional Advocacy Standards. We have also published a Code of Practice for Professional Advocates working with families involved with the child welfare system.

In addition we can be commissioned to deliver training on child welfare law and practice to voluntary and community organisations – including those in the domestic abuse field – who advocate for parents. To discuss commissioning a course or consultancy work contact Pam Ledward pledward@frg.org.uk.

Families with experience of the child welfare system are directly involved in developing our resources and co-delivering our training courses.

Advocacy means assisting people to make informed choices, not making decisions for them.

The advocate’s role is to enable the family members:

  • To have their voice heard
  • To participate, as far as practicable, in the decisions being made about their child
  • To have their viewpoint taken into account.

Advocates can help family members, for example, to:

  • Prepare for meetings with social workers
  • Ask the social worker questions including clarifying any local authority concerns
  • Speak up and get their point of view across, including at child protection conferences and other local authority meetings
  • Reach agreements or negotiate with social workers
  • Challenge social workers or other professionals in a constructive way if the family member thinks a mistake has been made or does not agree with what professionals are saying
  • Recall what was said and agreed at a meeting so that the family member can plan what to do next.
*Lindley B, Richards M & Freeman P, ‘Advice and advocacy for parents in child protection cases – what’s happening in current practice? [2001] Child and Family Law Quarterly 167
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Our funding means we can currently only help 4 in 10 people

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