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Parent Carer Services

Overview

As a parent or carer of a child with a Special Educational Need or Disability (SEND), it can sometimes be difficult to know what support is available and who to contact to get the right help and advice.

In Birmingham our aim is to work closely with parents and carers to make sure that your child has the support they need. We have a range of parent carer services that can offer different types of support to you when you need it.

In this section you can find out more information about each service, how they can help you and how to get in touch with them.


Parent Link Service

The SEND Parent Link Service is the first point of contact for parents or carers of children with a Special Educational Need or a Disability to get advice and support. The service is here for you if you are not sure who to contact, where to go for advice or support you need, or you just want to ask a question.

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About us

The service is run by a team of Parent Link Officers who can help you by listening, discussing any concerns with you and putting you in touch with the right person or team that can help.  The team is made up of officers with experience of working with children and young people from birth to 25 years.  They will listen and then find the best person to support you further. 

How we can help

The Parent Link Service can help in lots of ways: 

  • help and advice over the phone through the Parent Link Contact Line, 

  • drop-ins and family forums where you can meet Parent Link Officers and discuss issues,

  • support for families and schools in school meetings,

  • informal advocacy to parents and families,

  • offer a listening ear for families to talk things through, especially during difficult times,

  • help to understand the different local services that offer support,  

  • provide practical help for families, for example, responding to letters, understanding reports from professionals or filling in forms,

  • support to make informed decisions about educational placements, such as choosing the right school for your child, 

  • provide a link to the relevant professionals and help to maintain good relationships,

  • help for families to play an active and valued role in their child's education and development,

  • help to make sure that families have a voice.

Forms of contact

  • Telephone

  • Email

  • Letter or written information

  • Home visit

  • Support at meetings

  • Family forums and drop-ins

How to access the service
Call the Parent Link Contact Telephone Line on 0121 303 8461 

Opening times:

Monday:                  9.00am – 5.00pm

Tuesday:                  9.00am – 5.00pm

Wednesday:           9.00am – 4.00pm

Thursday:                9.00am – 5.00pm

Friday:                      9.00am – 5.00pm

Email: ParentLinkService@birmingham.gov.uk

Alternatively, talk to your local early years setting, school or college.


Parent Champions

A Parent Champion is a parent with a child or young person with Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND) who works with the local authority on a voluntary basis to reach out and befriend other parents in Birmingham.

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About us

It can be very difficult for parents when they find out that their child has a Special Educational Need or Disability. We know that it can help if parents have someone to talk to who has been through a similar experience.

To support this, we have launched our Parent Champions service. Parent Champions are parents and carers from across the city who have children with a wide variety of needs that are happy to meet with parents who need some early support outside of the education, health or care system.

Parent Champions are available for one-to-one meetings with parents within local communities and can also attend family forums. We match parents with parent champions who have had similar experiences.

How we can help

Parent Champions can help with:

  • information and advice on a range of topics based on their own experiences,

  • signposting parents to information and support,

  • help for parents to have their say on key decisions being made by the Local Authority,

  • translating information for parents if English is not their first language.

Forms of contact

How to access the service

Contact the Parent Link Service on 0121 303 8461  or email ParentLinkService@birmingham.gov.uk to be put in touch with a Parent Champion.

Here we share two stories of our Parent Champions:

“I am a mother of two beautiful children, my son is in secondary school education and my daughter is in primary school education. I work part time in a busy NHS Birmingham hospital, which gives me insight into the NHS referral pathway process.  

Both of my children have multiple SEND needs, which differ from one another. I understand the sometimes frustrating and emotional process of gaining a diagnosis and then getting this addressed within school, in order to access the best level of support and care available for my children.

As a parent champion I intend on sharing my experience and knowledge of my children’s diagnosis process, as I’ve learnt such a lot about how to access and self-refer to a number of different services. I’ve had many a bad day where I’ve felt alone, unheard and professionals seem to be obstructive, so if I could help empower even one parent and their child along this journey then that would be amazing!”

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“I am a mum of three amazing children and have experience of finding information about what is available for children with additional needs within the local and wider community. I work part time and term time in order to have a good family work/ life balance. My eldest daughter attends a high school and my youngest two children attend a local primary school. I enjoy spending quality time with my family and creating beautiful memories for them. 

In my role as a parent champion, I am hoping to listen to, help and guide other parents and carers through their journey. I am keen to help by signposting parents to sources of advice, information and guidance within my local community. I support families with issues around integration, encouraging parental involvement, addressing specific needs and raising awareness of extended services within the local community. I am also able to act as an interpreter as and when required.”

Can I become a Parent Champion?

Any parent of a child or young person up to the age of 25 years can volunteer to be a Parent Champion.

All Parent Champions must take part in a training day before starting their role and meeting other families. The role is flexible depending on your time and availability. You can give as little or as much support as you wish, at times to suit you. Being a Parent Champion can be a very rewarding experience. You will be part of a supportive community network of parents helping each other.

How can I apply to become a Parent Champion?

Email to ParentLinkService@birmingham.gov.uk and we will contact you or just pop in into one of our family forums to have a chat.

 

Birmingham Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)

The Birmingham Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) is a statutory service who offer impartial information, advice and support to children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities.

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About us

SENDIASS is a free, confidential service that offers impartial information, advice and support to families of children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities, and young people themselves (aged 16+).

The service can help you to make informed choices and be actively involved in decisions about your child’s education.

How we can help

The services offered by SENDIASS include:

  • help to understand and exercise your rights around exclusions, complaints, SEND processes and SEND appeals,

  • information, advice and support before, during and following a SEND Tribunal appeal. This support can be provided in a range of different ways, dependent on the needs of the parent or young person. It can also include representation during a hearing if a parent or young person is unable to do so,

  • training for education, health and social care professionals, children, young people and parents to increase their knowledge of SEND law, guidance, local policy, issues and participation,

If you're a parent or young person being assessed, the service can:

  • help you to understand the referral process,
  • act as a named contact throughout the process,
  • help you to communicate with everyone involved in the assessment process,
  • provide information about personal budgets,
  • put you in touch with other people who can help, if necessary.

Forms of contact

  • Telephone

  • Email

  • Letter or written information

  • Home visit

  • Support at meetings

How to access the service

Call 0121 303 5004 (8:45am to 5pm, Monday to Friday), email sendiass@birmingham.gov.uk

Alternatively, you can write to:

SENDIASS
The POD
28 Oliver St.
Nechells
Birmingham
B7 4NX


Birmingham Parent Carer Forum

Birmingham Parent Carer Forum (BPCF) is a voluntary group of Birmingham Parent Carers whose purpose is to become the bridge between services and families and a collective voice representing all members and all disabilities.

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About us

The Birmingham Parent Carer Forum is a voluntary group of Birmingham parent carers who have experience of children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

Their aim is to be a collective voice for families and provide a link with local services to help make sure that these services meet the needs of children and young people with SEND, and their families.

They aim to build strong and sustainable links between the Local Authority, Joint Clinical Commissioning Group and The Children's Trust.

This short video tells you more about the Birmingham Parent Carer Forum:

BPCF - What We're All About Infographic [PDF version]

What Is Their Vision?

Birmingham is a place where every SEND child and adult is heard and valued, where services are timely and accessible, and where parents and carers work together with professionals to provide positive opportunities for all.

How they can help

Birmingham Parent Carer Forum can help with:

  • engaging with parent carers within the local community and listening to your experiences of services in Birmingham,

  • being a voice of parents and carers and sharing your views with local services,

  • organising parent carer events​,

  • signposting to voluntary support groups and SEND services in Birmingham.

Forms of contact

  • Email

  • Family events

  • Social media (Facebook and Twitter)

How can I get involved with Birmingham Parent Carer Forum?

If you are a parent or carer of a child or young person (aged 0 - 25) with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities who lives in Birmingham, and/or whose child uses Birmingham Education, Health or Social Care Services you can become a member of the forum!

However much or little you choose to get involved you will be helping to make a difference to the services that matter so much to our children. 

How to access the service:

Email: info@birminghampcf.org

Follow us on:

Twitter@BirminghamPCF

Facebook: https: //www.facebook.com/BirminghamPCF/

Visit the website: https://www.birminghampcf.org/