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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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Professional family advocacy

Since 2003 we have pioneered an independent professional advocacy service for families involved with child protection services nationally; this has included service provision at child protection conferences in four London Boroughs. We have advocated for families who find it difficult to engage with statutory services, including those who have previously had children removed from their care and are mistrustful of statutory intervention; asylum seeking families; and young care leavers. We have supported families at different stages of their involvement with Children’s Services including children in need; advocating for parents from the stage when child protection enquiries were initiated until the first review conference; and within the complaints process.

What we offer

We offer a service to London Children’s Services Departments, who can spot purchase (buy in) a professional advocate to work with a parent or family member or enter into a partnership arrangement with us. 

We offer training courses to suit workers who may advocate for parents and families involved with child welfare services, such as mental health adult support workers, or domestic violence workers, to enable them to have a more detailed understanding of child welfare law and child protection procedures and the suitable skills to advocate in child protection processes.

What is the impact of professional advocacy?

We have commissioned independent evaluations of our professional advocacy service.

The latest evaluation found:

• 97% of parents and family members felt that our advocacy service had been helpful and

• 46% felt it had made a difference to the outcome of their case.

(Fraser C and Featherstone B, Evaluation of Family Rights Group’s professional advocacy service (2011)

The evaluators spoke to parents, social workers, case conference chairs, and heads of service.

How we work

The service was initially developed and piloted using the Protocol on Advice and Advocacy for Parents in Child Protection Cases (developed by the University of Cambridge with funding from the Department of Health) as a model. We continue to base our service on this Protocol – our advocates are highly qualified lawyers, social workers or advocates with comparable experience.

Our Protection of Children and Confidentiality Policy describes what information we keep confidential and what information we can’t keep confidential. So that we avoid any conflict of interests when working with families our advocates will not represent a family member if another family member is already a client of the team in connection with the same problem/issue. For details see our Conflict of Interest Policy.

Codes and Standards

In 2009 we published national family advocacy standards with other stakeholders. Service users and key stakeholders were involved in drafting the Code of conduct for professional advocates and Professional Advocacy services, principles and standards.

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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

Delivering family group conferences during the Coronavirus crisis

This guide is written to help local authorities, during the crisis, to work in partnership with families. It describes how remote technology can be used to continue to enable family group conferences to be offered to families and to support their children during the Coronavirus outbreak.

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.

Government urged to step up and support kinship carers during the crisis to avoid placement breakdown

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.

Delivering good practice initial assessments of family and friends carers in the context of Covid-19

A new appendix to the existing good practice guide for practitioners assessing whether a family member or friend might be a potentially realistic option to be a carer for a child who cannot live safely with their parents.

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