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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.

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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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Scenario 1 – Young person living with a sibling carer

Scenario 1 – Young person living with a sibling carer

A 20 year old man is living in England with sponsors under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. His parents, and 14 year old sister, remained in Ukraine. The sponsors agree for his sister to also live with them. The brother will be responsible for her care. She is granted a visa under the Homes for Ukraine scheme to travel unaccompanied.

Immigration:

Where a child or young person wishes to travel without a parent or legal guardian to live with a sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the sponsor should be personally known to the carers. If not, the visa may not be granted. The Government can make an exception if the child has an adult relative living in the sponsor’s home.

In this scenario, the sponsor will need to agree to support the 14-year-old sister before she can acquire the visa.

The local authority will need to complete:

  • A Disclosure and Barring Service check
  • A check of the host’s accommodation
  • A sponsor suitability assessment; which needs to follow the procedures and arrangements used for private fostering. See FAQs here.

Legal responsibilities and status:

Whilst local authorities must initially complete a private fostering assessment, they may use their discretion when deciding whether to continue to treat the arrangement as private fostering. How far the brother will be taking primary responsibility for the child’s care will be a key factor when making this decision. See FAQs here for more information.

Parental responsibility remains with the mother and father (if he has it) living in Ukraine and the local authority will need to involve them in any social work assessment so far as this is possible.

Children’s services will need to consider how to support the child and her family. They will need to consider the Family and Friends Care Statutory Guidance, particularly what their local Family and Friends policy says about what support might be available to them. They will also need to consider whether the 14-year girl would benefit from section 17 child in need services. A family group conference may also be helpful.

Other support:

The sponsor will be eligible for the £350 monthly payment.

The brother can apply for child benefit and may also be eligible for other benefits such as universal credit.

The local authority can consider any other offers of universal or targeted family support that may be available, including any community resources that are available to support Ukrainian families and local kinship services.

The local authority can signpost the brother to resources and support available from Kinship Compass and Family Rights Group Help and Advice.

The local authority can signpost the brother and sister to potential therapeutic support from Barnardo’s Ukrainian Support Helpline and share the resources regarding the impact of war, loss and trauma.

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