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Support groups and networks provide a valuable source of advice, guidance and information. They also give you the opportunity to meet parents and families who may be encountering similar challenges to those you experience.
This page provides a summary of the different types of groups, networks and services that are available in Devon, and nationally, that can help support your family.
Networks in Devon
Parent Carer Forum Devon
Parent Carer Forum Devon (PCFD) is for all families of children and young people with additional needs and disabilities in Devon. PCFD connects with parents across the county to understand the wider picture of what life is really like for families – identifying problems and areas for services to improve on, as well as what’s working well.
PCFD works in partnership with us, education settings, health providers and other professionals to make sure that services in Devon are accessible and meet the needs of children and their families.
PCFD is actively looking for people to join the forum. If you’d like to become involved or want to know more, get in touch by:
Support groups in Devon
There are many ways in which you can get support and help in Devon, from parent groups and coffee mornings to school groups, voluntary organisations and our SEND team.
How can I search for local support groups?
Local groups tend to vary in size and vary in what they offer.
There are local SEND support groups listed on Pinpoint Devon. These include online groups, training and events to help parents of children and young people with SEND.
Local support groups are also often widely advertised on Facebook.
Devon Information Advice and Support for SEND (DiAS)
DiAS provides free, impartial and confidential information, advice and support about SEND. The service is for children and young people with SEND, aged up to 25, and their parents or carers and gives legally based information, advice and support around SEND issues at every stage of a child’s education, including into further education and adulthood.
They can help you with:
- understanding legal processes and knowing what you need to do and when
- preparing for meetings
- developing a good working relationship with your child’s pre-school, nursery, school or college
- making decisions, by talking about what all your options are and the pros and cons of each
- knowing how to do practical tasks, such as checking a draft EHC plan or getting your child referred to a specialist
The Council for Disabled Children has produced this video to explain more about what Information, Advice and Support Services do and how they can help.
Further support in Devon
- Our Disabled Children’s Service offers advice, support and practical help to families who have a disabled child or young person.
- Signpost Plus gives you information about local and national services that can provide support for your child. You can contact them by email at CFHD.DevonSPA@nhs.net, or by telephone on 0330 0245 321.
- The Family Information Service is a source of information for parents and carers of children in Devon. It includes registered childcare as well as other services and support for all children, young people and parents (not just those with SEND).
- Care Direct offers information, advice and support about the adult social care system in Devon to young people aged 18 and above and their families.
- Early help is extra support for you or your family to help prevent a problem or to support you before it gets worse.
Training courses for parents
- CEDA Bisnet (Behaviour Intervention Support Network) offers various parent carer training sessions to support parents of children with autism, aggressive behaviour and attention difficulties.
- British Sign Language Courses are available throughout Devon.
- Better Outcomes from Meetings can help parents to work positively and constructively with school staff and get more out of each meeting.
Support for different types of need
If you are looking for support or information about the different types of need, then you can find more information on our pages about different types of need.
You can find out more about the various forms of financial support available to families and parents of children and young people with SEND on our financial support pages.
Support for carers in Devon
Devon Carers works to enable carers to maintain their own health, wellbeing and independence; and to care safely, confidently and effectively.
It provides carers with the information and advice they need in their caring role. It also helps them to find support in their community and from local organisations.
You can find out more about the financial support available to carers on our financial support page.
You can also find more information on our Support for parents and carers of young adults page.
Devon Young Carers
We commission a service called Devon Young Carers, to assess and support the needs of young carers up to the age of 18 years in Devon.
Young carers are put in a position of great responsibility at a very young age; dealing with situations that many adults would find a challenge. These children and young people have to cope in difficult circumstances, not only looking after their relative but often helping to bring up siblings and run a household.
Devon Carers work with other services to ensure that when a young carer asks for help they are given the most up-to-date information and advice and are able to access the young carers service when it is most appropriate to them.
The service helps young carers to:
- have the same life opportunities as their peers
- feel supported at school/college
- have good physical and emotional health
- access and achieve their potential in education and training
- have their voices heard
- be prepared for adulthood and independence
You can find out more about whether you are a young carer, what support is available and useful resources on the Devon Carers website.
National support and guidance
- Sibs is a national charity that offers support to the siblings of children and young people with disabilities.
- Navigate is an emotional support service for parents of disabled children.
- Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) – support for children whose families are in the military services.
- The Government has produced an overview of provision for children and young people with SEND.
- The Government has produced a guide to the SEND Code of Practice for parents.
- The Government SEND support: easy-read guide for children and young people.
- Disability Rights UK has produced a Guide to the Care Act.
- The Council for Disabled Children has put together useful information and resources for parents.
- The Council for Disabled Children has also produced a guide to SEND reforms: What children and young people need to know.
- IPSEA has produced a ‘Jargon Buster’ glossary of terms.
- Carers UK is a national charity that offers information about your rights as a carer.
- Contact is a national charity that provides lots of information and advice for parents and carers of children with disabilities. It also gives information on Personal Independence Payments.