Since the Parent and Carer Alliance C.I.C. began in 2018 we have
- Created a welcoming and safe community relied upon by over 1500 distressed and frustrated families as a source of reliable, factual, information from both national and local sources, and to provide peer support.
- Informed and empowered over 600 families through more than 20 training and social events. The training events cover the topics that families most often ask questions about – special education and disability law, legal definitions, getting the right support in school, EHCP assessment and funding, reviews and the Tribunal appeals process; the legal responsibilities of children’s social care in supporting children with additional needs, legal processes and how they should be applied, how assessments should be carried out and provision made, and child protection ; and benefits advice such as Universal Credit for young adults with disabilities, DLA to PIP transfer for children and other relevant disability benefits. These advice events enable families to ask questions directly of experts. They inform families of their legal rights, and those of their children; explain how those rights apply in their circumstances; identify and clarify the systems organisations such as the local authority, schools and the health services should have in place to support families with additional needs and how to access them; and explain the processes for redress if such organisations fail to support families in accordance with their legal duties.
- The social events helped to reduce isolation and loneliness and include coffee mornings, pamper events, a canal trip, and a family picnic. These events bring parents with similar experiences together so that they can share information, help one another, and appreciate that they are not alone.
- Gathered the lived experiences of families about their difficulties, including those created by Covid-19, and used this information to lobby all relevant parties to ensure that positive changes are made so vulnerable families stay as safe as possible. Most recently this involved representatives from the Alliance speaking directly with the chair, Josh MacAlister, and members, of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care.