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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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Kinship Care Alliance Agenda for Action on Family and Friends Care 2017


Specific recommendations:

In order to promote permanence and stability for children, the following recommendations are designed to ensure that children who cannot live with their parents have the opportunity to remain within their wider family and that these arrangements are adequately supported.

1. Exploring the wider family as a first port of call to avoid children entering care:

a) There should be a new legal duty on local authorities to ensure that potential placements with family and friends carers are always explored and assessed for suitability before a child becomes looked after unless there is an emergency. At present this duty only applies after the child is in the care system.
b) There should be a legal duty on local authorities to offer all families the opportunity to have a family group conference before a child enters the care system unless there is an emergency. This will enable the wider family themselves to be supported to take the lead in making a safe plan for the child, for example by identifying suitable relatives willing to raise the child, thus averting the need for care proceedings or the child entering the care system.


2. Ensuring that local authorities recognise and meet the needs of children in family and friends care in their area by providing practical and financial support, the Government should:

a) Regulate to require local authorities to publish a family and friends care policy and have a named designated senior council officer with responsibility for implementing the policy. Ofsted inspections of children's services departments should specifically ensure that this duty is complied with and Ofsted should conduct a thematic family and friends care review. The Local Government Association should also be encouraged to provide a family and friends care peer review and support network for local authorities;
b) Give all children being raised by family and friends carers for more than 28 days (where there is court, local authority or professional evidence that they cannot live with their parents), the same rights currently available to children who were adopted from care (i) including:

  • i. Priority school admissions
  • ii. Pupil Premium Plus
  • iii. Free 2 year old childcare
  • iv. A designated member of school staff  to promote their educational achievement.

c) Place a new duty on local authorities to establish and commission family and friends care support services, including bereavement counselling, life story work, help managing contact, assistance with children's emotional behavioural difficulties and with setting up local support groups for family and friends carers.
d) Place a new duty on local authority to assess for support services children in family and friends care who the court, local authority or a professional has determined cannot live with their parents;
e) Place a new power on local authorities to assess for support services any child living in family and friends care.
f) Make available the Adoption Support Fund to children in family and friends care arrangements and ensure it is adequately funded;
g) Collect and publish official data about family and friends care arrangements to inform planning of local and national policies and support services for family and friends care.
h) Introduce a national financial allowance for family and friends carers who are raising children who would otherwise be in the care system.


3. Ensuring free legal advice is available to family and friends carers, the Government should adequately fund free specialist independent legal advice and information services to family and friends who are considering, or have taken on a child.


4. Supporting family and friends carers to remain in the labour market the Government should give:

a) family and friends carers a right to 6 weeks unpaid adjustment leave to deal with the immediate situation when a child initially moves in with them.
b) the right to a period of paid employment leave and protection to family and friends carers, who are permanently raising children who the court, local authority or professionals have determined cannot live with their parents, as adopters are entitled to.


5. Helping prevent children in family and friends care ending up in severe poverty, the Government should recognise the specific circumstances of family and friends carers within the benefits system, including:

• ensuring they are not adversely affected by the rules applying to 'spare room subsidy' and the benefits cap, which currently works against potential family and friends carers taking on sibling groups; and
• ensuring that all family and friends care households are exempt from the limiting of child tax credit to two children and are not penalised by changes to pension credit.


(i) and those ceased to be in care as a result of a child arrangement or special guardianship order.
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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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