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.