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Need help and advice

If your family is involved with children's services, or you need help from these services, our interactive web-pages will give you the information you need.

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Blogs and Vlogs

Families' voices and opinions are at the heart of our media. Our blogs and vlogs page features articles and videos by parents, kinship carers and other professionals on subjects of child welfare and more.

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Policy and Campaigns

Read about the Care Crisis Review, our kinship care campaigns, our policy work and download our press releases.

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Supporters Network

By joining the Family Rights Group Supporters’ Network, you agree to make a donation, no matter how big or small, which will make a crucial contribution to our work.

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Our advice service

Our free and confidential advice service is provided via telephone and online discussion boards. Our expert advisors have extensive experience in legal and social work practice, they help families to understand the law and child welfare processes, as well as better understand the concerns of social workers. An independent evaluation showed 71% of parents agreed that the advice service had helped them to understand what they needed to do to make things better for their child.

Our interactive, accessible website helps families navigate complex law and child welfare procedures. It includes a wealth of information including films and detailed legal advice sheets for parents and family and friends carers.

“They’re impartial, gave brilliant advice, were really supportive and understood the issues.” - parent

Our advocacy services

Our specialist advocates accompany parents to key meetings, most commonly child protection conferences. They help parents to have a voice and influence decisions about their children. An independent evaluation found 73% of parents thought this direct advocacy support made it easier for them to communicate with the local authority and 71% of child protection conference chairs felt the advocacy support improved parental engagement. This direct advocacy service can be spot-purchased by local authorities or families in London.

Family group conferences

A family group conference is a family-led meeting which provides the young person and their family network with the opportunity to make safe plans for a child who is at risk. They have enabled many children to stay within their family as an alternative to going into care. The approach has mainly been used in child welfare but is also effective in preventing school exclusions, tackling anti-social behaviour, addressing youth offending and making plans for vulnerable adults.

“The local authority has agreed we qualify for foster allowance. Without your help we wouldn’t have known what to do. Thank you once again from less-stressed grandparents.”

We train family group conference co-ordinators, help local authorities set up or commission services and run the national Family Group Conference Network, which enables practitioners to share best practice. We are also rolling out a nation-wide accreditation scheme for family group conference services to ensure consistent, high standards.

“The family group conference was very helpful. The family group conference allowed me to get my message across to my family and practitioners. It really helped my family resolve our problems.” – young person

Supporting family and friends carers

We establish local support groups for family and friends carers. Many are caring for children who cannot live with their parents due to factors such as imprisonment, drug abuse, mental illness or parental death. We run fun days for these carers and the children to address their isolation and create peer support networks.

Family Rights Group is also campaigning for a national support framework for family and friends carers, including a financial allowance for raising children who cannot live with their parents. Research has shown that 38% of family and friends carers need to give up work and 75% are living in severe poverty.

“I don’t know how we would have survived without our support group. However much other friends try to be supportive, they have no idea what it’s like caring for children again 24/7.”– grandparent carer

Influencing law, policy and practice

Family Rights Group champions children’s welfare and their right to live safely within their family wherever possible. We campaign for fair process and respect for family life when the state makes decisions about their lives.

We conduct research on effective ways of involving and supporting struggling families to enable their children to thrive. This directly informs our training and policy work.

Our future work

As we move forward Family Rights Group is exploring how our expertise can be best used to support families in youth justice and education, as well as child welfare. These areas are increasingly linked, with families often dealing with multiple problems and agencies. We aim to provide coherent advice across these areas, challenge presumptions, and promote policies that put families at the heart of solutions for their children.

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Telephone Advice Line

If you are a parent, family member or friend of a child, in England or Wales, who has social workers involved in your child’s life, or if you need extra support from Children’s Services, and would like to speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential helpline.

0808 801 0366 

(Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm)

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Discussion Boards

For advice from our advisers, or to get online support from other people in a similar position to you, visit the parents or family and friends carers forums.  To explore new research and to discuss ideas with practitioners and families, visit the FGC Network  or the Your Family, Your Voice Alliance Boards. If you are a domestic violence worker or social worker in London, visit our new research and practice  board.

 

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FAQs

We have answered the most commonly asked questions put to FRG advisers. Please follow the links to see a list of questions and answers, grouped together by subject.

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Advice Sheets

For more detailed information, please see our range of advice sheets on family support, child protection, looked after children, family and friends care, adoption or challenging decisions.

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Films

Family Rights Group has produced films for families to help ‘demystify’ the child welfare system.

Go to the relevant films to view fictionalised cases which show what happens when a child protection conference is held and similarly when a family group conference takes place.

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Advice during the Coronavirus Crisis

Top tips guide for kinship carers to help children maintain relationships

This top tips guide is intended to support kinship carers to help children to safely maintain a relationship with those who are important to them, including their parents, brothers, sisters and friends, even if they cannot visit them.

Advice guide for parents and families with a child in the care system

In this guide, we have set out some creative ways in which relationships can be maintained and you can support your child during the Coronavirus crisis, even if you cannot visit them.

The grandparents caring for children during coronavirus outbreak

Please watch this very moving four minute report from Channel 4 News about the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on grandparents raising their grandchildren. Also features our Chief Executive, Cathy Ashley. For huge numbers of grandparents, keeping away from their grandchildren is simply not an option. Around a hundred thousand children in the UK are being brought up by grandparents because their parents have died or are unable to care for them. Now those carers, who are often elderly and with underlying conditions, must try to protect themselves from infection.

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