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SEND Local Offer Rutland Information Service

Support for Parents and Carers

If you are a parent or carer of a disabled child you may be able to get help with your caring responsibilities. 

The first stage of support can be found through our Local Offer, this is where all of the information relating to the support you can receive is collated.  This support is available to all parent carers in Rutland.

You may also find that our Early Help Service can offer you support.  They provide help and support for a wide range of issues and concerns and, as part of their work, the undertake an Early Help assessment.  The Early Help Assessment supports the whole family and is intended to be used for children with additional needs, i.e. those children who are at risk of poor outcomes. It promotes earlier identification of unmet needs and more coordinated service provision so that practitioners in all agencies can communicate and work together more effectively. Experience shows that this benefits children, young people and their families.

In Rutland, if your child is disabled and has a social care plan (section 17) or is deemed to need a social care (section 17) assessment, we usually assess parent carer’s needs at the same time.   Our assessments adopt a whole family approach and we will consider the needs of parents and carers within this process, however a parent can ask for an individual carer’s assessment.

'Thank you so much for thinking of us and what might be of help. I'm struggling to keep up at the moment so having others who are able to think of some options for us is hugely helpful.' 

Feedback from a parent

What is a disability?

Under the Equalities Act (2010):

A child or young person is disabled if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ adverse effect on his or her ability to do normal day to day activities.

A child or young person has a Special Educational Need under the Children and Families Act (2014) if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

Am I eligible for a Parent Carer’s Needs Assessment?

If you are the main carer/have parental responsibility for a child or young person under the age of 18 who is disabled and has a social care plan (section 17) or is currently under assessment for a social care plan you will be eligible for an assessment under the Children Act 1989.

You don’t have to be the child’s parent, but the child or young person must live with you and you must have parental responsibility.  If other family members are caring for you child for 35 hours or more a week, they may also be able to access the assessment, please just ask us, by contacting our Children’s Front Door Team.

If the person you look after is over 18 years old, you will need to ask adult social care for a carer’s assessment.

If you are under 18 years old and look after someone else you can get a young carers assessment.

When can I ask for a Parent Carer’s Needs Assessment?

All parents have a right to ask for an assessment of their needs at any time and you can have your needs re-assessed if your circumstances and needs have changed since your last assessment.

If your disabled child is having an assessment of their needs as part of a social care assessment/ plan, this will also take into account the needs of the rest of the family, including parents and siblings.  It will consider your needs as a carer.  However, if you wish to have a separate assessment please just ask us at the time of your child’s assessment or at any point you feel that your needs have changed.

What happens during an assessment?

The carer’s assessment focuses on the parents or carers and their needs and considers issues like the help a child needs and whether there is anyone else who helps, or if a parent is a lone carer. The carers assessment will consider a parent’s well-being, including health and safety issues, and important commitments like relationships and employment. The aim of a carer’s assessment is to give a parent or carer a chance to tell us about the things that could make looking after their child easier for them. This may result in getting services or direct payments to meet a parent or carers assessed needs.

As part of the assessment we will need to speak to you and ask you a series of questions which will explore areas such as:

  • Any difficulties you are having because of your caring role, for example the effect it has on your physical health or mental wellbeing
  • What you need to help you with your caring role
  • Any difficulties you may be having doing things with your other children because of your caring role
  • Any barriers you may have to accessing education or employment because of your caring role
  • With your agreement, we will speak to other organisations who help you, like your child’s school, to find out about their views as well.

What happens after the assessment?

We will tell you if you can get help from us and discuss what help we think you need.  With your agreement we will agree a care and support plan with you.  This could include:

  • Access to Aiming High, our short breaks scheme, to give you a break from caring
  • Family support to help you with areas such as managing behaviour, setting routines etc
  • Support to access other services in your local community
  • Adaptations to your home

We will already have considered these things as part of your child’s assessment and support is likely to have been put in place and offered to you through our social care assessment process.

If you are not eligible for help we will direct you to other local services who may be able to help, you can also find out more via Rutland County Council’s Local Offer.

My child doesn’t have a social care plan, how can I get help?

Whenever Rutland County Council begin working with your child, we already take a whole family approach and your needs will be taken into account as part of any Early Help support, or through an Education Health and Care Plan or directly by Social Care.  If we identify that you need support and believe your child is eligible for a child with disabilities social care assessment we will speak to you about this.

If you are not yet working with us and believe you need help please speak to your child’s school or contact us with a brief outline of your support needs through our Early Help Service.

We also have a range of support for children with special educational needs or disabilities through our Aiming High offer, you may be eligible to access this without your child needing a social care plan.

Where else can I get support?

There are a number of ways you can get help and support for your family:

  • Rutland County Council’s Local Offer
  • Aiming High
  • Visions Children’s Centre (up to 11 years old)
  • Your child’s school or pre-school
  • SENDIASS (an independent advice and guidance service for Rutland families)
  • Through our wider universal offer including many community based support groups
  • Through Early Help, our targeted support offer for children and families
  • Some families choose to employ a Personal Assistant to help them
  • Through local charities such as: 
    • Rutland Rotaract Family Support Centre ( who provide social, recreational, educational and therapeutic support to children and young people (0-25) with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), and their families.
    • Home-Start Horizons ( who  provide emotional support and practical help to families with children under the age of 5 years.
    • National Carers Helpline ( support for carers
    • Rutland Sailability ( Sailing activities for those with disabilities
    • Mencap ( ) provide services  provide for people of all ages who have learning disabilities from mild to profound, to people on the autistic spectrum as well people who also have physical disabilities ranging up to severe and profound.
    • Contact a Family ( a national charity providing for families with disabled children who provide information, advice and support, including carers issues.
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