We are the charity that works with parents in England and Wales whose children are in need, at risk or are in the care system and with members of the wider family who are raising children unable to remain at home.
We advise parents, grandparents, other relatives and friends about their rights and options when social workers or courts make decisions about their children’s welfare.
We campaign for families to have their voice heard, be treated fairly and get help early to prevent problems escalating. We champion family group conferences and other policies and practices that keep children safe within their family network.
Founded in 1974, we have had some important successes over the last 42 years: For example, 42 years ago parents were NOT:
Now they are
We have had a significant impact in influencing legislation, including the Children Act 1989. These achievements are in large part due to us consistently bringing evidence of injustices to the attention of politicians, practitioners and the media, and putting forward workable solutions in the interest of the child.
Child protection enquiries and care order applications are now at record levels - and are rising. Family Rights Group believes that considerably more could be done to prevent children from needing to be taken into care in the first place. We know from our advice service that parents are struggling to get the early help they need to stop problems escalating into a crisis. We have set out a series of amendments to the Children and Social Work Bill 2016 that we think would make a considerable difference. This includes making it a duty on local authorities to offer therapeutic support and counselling to parents whose children are removed in order to reduce the high likelihood that they will lose further children.
There are more than 200,000 children in the UK raised by family and friends carers, normally grandparents or older siblings. These children have suffered similar adversities to those in the care system, yet the support they receive (or lack of it) bears little if any relationship to their needs. We also know from our advice service that more could be done to enable more children who cannot live with their parents, to be safely raised by a family member who knows and loves them.
Funding constraints mean our advice service is only able to advise tour in every ten callers. Family Rights Group worked with New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) in 2015 to establish a framework that would enable us to conduct impact evaluations of our advice service regularly including measuring economic outcomes. We used this for a 2016 evaluation of a sample of advice line callers which found that:
Immediately after the call to FRG:
Four to six months following the call to the advice line:
New Philanthropy Capital constructed an economic model to estimate the savings for care costs avoided and local authority costs saved by averting the need for long term or more intensive statutory involvement. The findings suggest that the service saves an average of £28 for every £1 invested (note: that it saves at least £8 and could save as much as £48 per £1 invested).
Our work includes