Help at Hand

Help at Hand is our national advice line for children and young people who are in care, leaving care, living away from home or working with children’s services.

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, is responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of children and young people, and making sure their voices are listened to. Our advice line is independent of the Government and exists to make sure that young people’s rights and entitlements are upheld and that their views are taken seriously.

Need help?

We offer support and advice if:

  • You want to make a complaint
  • You’re not getting the right support
  • You’re worried about placement moves, housing, finances or your future
  • You’re not being heard
  • You feel unsafe

We’ll listen and ask questions to understand your situation and views. We’ll give you advice about your rights and entitlements, we’ll help you get support in your area – for example, from an advocate, and we’ll use our influence to help make sure your rights are upheld.

We’ll take action

If you get in touch with us, we’ll give you advice and support, and we’ll make sure your rights are upheld by:

  • Offering advice when you need information
  • Offering assistance when you need support
  • Offering representation when you need someone to listen to you 

Get in touch

You can reach us by calling 0800 528 0731.

You can also email us at help.team@childrenscommissioner.gsi.gov.uk or complete our online form

Help at Hand is open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Our service is free and fully confidential, and you can choose to contact us anonymously if you wish.

We’ll never share your information with others unless we think you or another person is at risk, in which case we may need to share information with organisations that can protect you. If we do share your information, we’ll always tell you why.  

Our advice line is not an emergency service. If you're a child or young person who needs help urgently, please contact ChildLine on 0800 1111. If you’re an adult or professional, please visit this page.

 

Our promise

We’re committed to championing the rights of and delivering advice, assistance and representation to children and young people across England who are in care, leaving care, living away from home or working with children’s services.

We promise to:

  • Treat everyone who contacts us with respect, understand their concerns, and offer useful advice and support.  
  • Listen to young people and empower them to know their rights and entitlements.
  • Challenge others and use our influence to stand up for young people.
  • Bring the concerns raised most frequently on our advice line to the attention of government decisions makers.
  • Consult with young people and ensure that their views are reflected in how we deliver our service.

 

Below you'll find some Q&As related to our advice service. View all the related Q&As here, or click the button at the bottom of the page to see all our Q&As on a whole range of different topics. 

Questions about Help at Hand

What are my rights if I am in care?

If you are in the care of a Local Authority (or Children’s Services, sometimes called being “Looked After”), there are several things that the law says that Children’s Services must do.

I do not feel like I am being heard or listened to. What can I do?

Section 53 of the Children Act 2004 says that before a local authority makes any decisions about a child or young person they should:

How do I make a complaint against my social worker or local authority? 

Section 26(3) of the Children Act 1989 requires every local authority to establish a procedure for considering complaints made by: 

view all questions