Advice and support services

Family Information Direct

Are you a parent or do you have parental responsibility? Do you live a very busy life, having to juggle many competing priorities such as work - or looking for work - and bringing up your child?

Yes? Then you are only too familiar with the strain today's living can put on you no matter how good at looking after your family you are. The Family Information Direct Programme has developed a range of national services to ensure you have access to the information, advice and guidance you need to support you in your parenting - whether you're a mother, father, grandparent, carer or anyone with caring responsibility for a child.

The services are designed to provide support and advice when you want it and in the format you would prefer - whether that's telephone helplines, services delivered online or via mobile phones. All of the Family Information Direct services are free (calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers are free from landlines; mobile rates vary). 

If you're not sure which service you need or if you have any questions then you can always contact Salford Starting Life Well service by using our online contact form. There are useful parenting downloads at the bottom of the page too.

Starting Life Well online contact form

You can also call 0161 778 0384. 

Services for all parents

DISC - is one of the largest and most successful home-grown charities operating across the north of England. Our services are designed to help people make the changes that will enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives.

Family Lives Parentline - 0808 800 2222 - A free and confidential helpline run by professionally trained call takers - also parents. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Text phone 0800 783 6783.

The Couple Connection - A free self-help website for parents who want to change their relationship for the better. Part of the One Plus One group who also have the Couple Connection website, which looks at relationship issues and the Parent Connection website that helps separating and separated parents manage emotions and create successful care arrangements after separating. The site also includes a new free online course called getting it right for children where separated parents can learn new skills to help them manage parenting after a separation.

Relate - An online instant messaging service, so that parents, particularly fathers, can engage easily with Relate's free relationship support services. You can also text a trained Relate consultant for free with a question about your family relationships, and receive texts back with support, advice, and information - whenever you need it. Text 80800, and start each message with the word RELATE.

ACE Advice Line - 0808 800 5793 - For free independent advice to all parents and carers of children educated in state schools. Key topics include education, exclusions, admissions, special educational needs and bullying. You can also ring the dedicated Exclusion advice line on 0808 800 0327.

Child Law Advice - 0300 330 5485 (for education queries) and 0300 330 5480 (for family queries) - Provides children, parents, carers and professionals with access to accurate legal advice regarding their rights and support services.

YoungMinds Parents Helpline - 0808 802 5544 - Free and confidential support for anyone worried about the emotional problems or behaviour of a child or young person.

Maternity Action offers online information sheets that cover a range of topics including rights at work, benefits, maternity discrimination, breastfeeding and entitlements for women with different immigration statuses. They have a dedicated advice line with specialist advisers who can advise on employment and benefits for pregnant women and new parents, telephone 0808 802 0029. They also have an advice service for women affected by charging for NHS maternity care.

Expert help for mums

Netmums - Social network for mums (or dads) offering information on just about everything, including local places to go and what to cook for tea. Make local friends, chat with mums in the coffee house, or with the parent supporters when you have questions or are facing a challenge.

Services for dads

Dad Talk - A website where all aspects of fatherhood are promoted, enabling fathers to share ideas through interactive forums, find information and learn about parenting (from the Family Matters Institute).

Services for lone parents

Gingerbread single parent helpline - 0808 802 0925 - Expert information and advice for single parents on child maintenance, benefits, tax credits, education, employment, housing and arrangements with your child's other parent.

Services for parents of disabled children

Contact a Family helpline - 0808 808 3555 - For advice, information and support on any aspect of raising a disabled child. Textphone 0808 808 3556.

Contact a Family online - Online support for parents and carers of disabled children, which encourages use of the web and social networking sites to access information and advice that supports them to look after their child.

Services for parents of teenagers

Got a teenager? - An online social networking site, which recreates the type of supportive 'school gate' community that parents really miss when their children go from primary to secondary school.

Services for grandparents

Grandparents' Association - A website especially for grandparents where they can find information and support on everything from activities with grandchildren to legal rights.