Confidential helpline

Opening hours

Family Lives offers a confidential and free* helpline service for families in England and Wales (previously known as Parentline). Please call us on 0808 800 2222 for emotional support, information, advice and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life. If you don’t get an answer first time please do try again.

Helpline opening hours:

Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm

Weekends 10am to 3pm

We currently answer 64% of all callers ringing.  If you don’t get an answer first time please do try again.

Callers in Scotland - for callers from Scotland, Children 1st run Parentline Scotland and you may wish to contact them on 08000 28 22 33 Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm, Weekends from 9am to noon. 

* Free from landlines and most mobiles

How we help you

We listen and give you the space to talk, helping you to explore your situation and identify the way forward.  Listening means that we let you, the caller, direct the conversation to wherever you want to go. We will take what you say seriously, and not minimise it. We may ask you some questions to help us fully understand your situation and explore your feelings, and help you talk through options or consider specific organisations which may be able to help you.

We do our best to provide you with as much helpful information and support and encouragement as we can, and then we hope that that puts you, as the expert on your own life, in a good position to make whatever choices are best for you. Core to our organisational values is to ensure that you will be listened to with empathy, care and respect. 

We cannot offer legal or medical advice.


All calls, emails and chats are confidential. We will only break confidentiality if there is a life-threatening situation, or a child or adult is felt to be at risk of significant harm. Calls are not recorded. 

What happens if you tell us that you or someone else has been hurt or is at risk?

If we are worried about your own safety, or being hurt, either by your own actions or by someone else, we want to help you find the best way to keep yourself safe.  We do this by listening and talking with you about what you want to do. Most of the time whatever you tell us will stay between you and Family Lives. 

However, if we feel that you are unable to make decisions for yourself, sometimes we might need to tell someone else what you’ve told us to be able to help you. This will apply to all young people under 13 and under some circumstances to older children and adults.

It is important to know that you can decide what information you choose to share with us. Sharing information will not automatically mean we will tell someone else but on some occasions it may mean us contacting the Police, Ambulance Service or Social Services.

We do not record any personal details, although phone numbers may appear in our system. We do not attribute them to any individual person. Phone numbers would only be used in cases of safeguarding. 

Other ways to contact us

Online chat 

You can now chat to us online if you want to talk to us about an issue. Our online chat service is open on Monday to Friday between 10.30am to 9pm (excluding bank holidays).

Email support

Our lines do get very busy, if you are unable to get through, you may want to email us for support, advice and information. Please email us at We aim to respond within 24 hours, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Contact us on Skype

Skype is a fast, free and efficient way of us delivering support for anyone needing our help. It allows callers an opportunity to access our services in a way that is more convenient. To use this service you will need to have a Skype account. To set up one up, please visit Once you have your Skype account and are signed in, please open the Skype Dialler and call 0808 800 2222 and press the green call button. You will then be connected to our helpline confidentially and free of charge. 

Online forums

Have you seen our online forums? This is a safe space where you can share experiences and support other families who may be going through a difficult time. Visit our online forums

To find out more about how we will use your data if you contact us, please see our privacy notice.

Helplines Partnership

We are proud to be a member of the Helplines Partnership which is a membership body for organisations that provide helpline services in the UK and internationally.

Become a helpline hero

Our helpline heroes are at the very centre of the work we do supporting families who need us. Every year, we support families across the country to work through difficult experiences such as poverty, behavioural problems, relationship stresses, and countless other issues. We are looking for volunteers to help us continue our vital work with families. Find out more about volunteering for us and becoming a helpline hero.

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