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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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This page includes information on where Ukrainian children living in kinship arrangements in England, and their carers, can obtain more information and advice, including therapeutic support. It also includes information on what financial support might be available, including what if any benefits kinship carers looking after Ukrainian children can apply for.

Where can families access specialist advice and information on immigration?

Where can families access specialist information and advice on children and family law?

  • Family Rights Group can offer advice to Ukrainian families, and any practitioners working with them, through their advice and advocacy service. This is for families who are involved with local authorities in England or need their help. It supports them to understand the law and child welfare processes. The services include online information and advice, online forums, a free telephone advice line open Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 3pm (excluding Bank Holidays) on 0808 801 0366. For more information see here. Interpreters can be made available.
  • Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB) can advise on exploring kinship carers who may be settled in other countries, if UK placements break down, and can offer legal advice on recognition of court orders internationally. Practical and emotional guidance for refugee children and young people arriving in England to live with extended family may also be available. More information is available via their Advice Line.

What Government advice is available for Ukrainian children and young people living in kinship arrangements and their families?

The government have published a guide for those applying under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which includes information about applying to the scheme, finding work, accessing benefits, education and health for children and adults. It can be found here. Some of this will be relevant for children and young people living here under the Ukraine Family Scheme.

The Government have also produced a welcome guide for Ukrainian children under 18 applying under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. It is available here.

What other advice is available?

  • Barnardo’s have set up a Ukraine support free helpline. The line helps children and families with accessing therapy, advice on a range of issues e.g., housing, accessing key health services, education, employment and practical support. The number is 0800 148 8586 and more information about the service can be found here. All services include access to interpreters in Ukrainian and Russian.
  • The Association for Ukrainians in Great Britain also has information for Ukrainians living in Great Britain.

Who can apply for benefits for a child living in England without a parent?

In nearly all kinship arrangements, those caring for a child without their parent can apply for child benefit. This includes sponsors hosting under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, or relatives caring for a child in any other visa route. The only type of kinship carer who cannot apply for child benefit is a kinship foster carer.

Child benefit can be claimed online: Claim Child Benefit. The Department for Work and Pensions are likely to need documentation from the carer applying. Documents can be verified at local benefit offices to avoid delay. If the child’s parents are still claiming child benefit despite the child not living with them, the carer can ask for the child benefit to be transferred to them. In the event of a dispute, HMRC will decide on the competing claims.

Kinship carers may qualify for other types of benefits such as Universal Credit whilst they are caring for a Ukrainian child or young person. Please see Family Rights Group advice sheet ‘Welfare benefits for kinship carers’ for more information.

What other financial support is available?

As is set out above, depending on the type of kinship care arrangement, those caring for a child may be entitled to some level of financial support from local authorities. For example, a kinship foster carer is entitled to a fostering allowance and a special guardian may be entitled to a financial allowance. In addition, sponsors under the Homes for Ukraine can receive an optional payment of £350 per month.

What emotional support might be available for children living in England without a parent, considering their likely experiences of conflict and displacement and potential experiences of loss, trauma and separation?

  • Leaflets from research project by Manchester University

One of the most important predictors for the mental health of children who experience conflict and displacement is the way they are cared for; warm, secure parenting can protect children from harm. (Manchester University, 2022) Researchers from Manchester University worked with families living
through war and displacement caused by the Syrian conflict to identify the challenges they faced caring for their children. Parents identified many changes in their children, including distress, fears and changes in behaviour. They developed a simple two page leaflet combining evidence based parenting advice with the needs identified by the Syrian parents. These leaflets have been translated into Ukrainian and Russian and can be found here. A TED Talk by psychologist Aala El-Khani, who led the research project for her PhD, explores and describes her work.

  • The Children and War Foundation

The foundation have produced resources for refugee parents to help their children. The Ukrainian version can be found here: Guide_Ukrainsk_PDF_enkeltsider.pdf (

  • The National Association of Therapeutic Parents

The Association have written guidance for parents and carers about the impact of trauma on children. This is free to download here and is available in English, Ukrainian and Russian.

  • Beacon House

This therapeutic and trauma informed service in the south-east of England have produced resources for families seeking refuge from war and conflict. This is free to download here and is available in English, Ukrainian and Russian.

  • Red Cross

The Red Cross have also published a report Fearing, fleeing, facing the future – how people displaced by the conflict in Ukraine are finding safety to highlight some of their reflections and learning after one year of the conflict. The report also highlights policy areas that still need attention.

  • Education

There may be support available within schools, who have been given government funding to meet the needs of Ukrainian children in school. This may include individual or group support from school well-being services and pastoral care. Refugee Education UK have published information regarding educational support for Ukrainian children and young people here.

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