Who to contact for advice and guidance

Who to contact for advice and guidance

If you need some advice and guidance around special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Whether you have a newly diagnosed child, suspect your child may have a special educational need/disability, or your young person is older, there are times when we need some extra advice and guidance.

There are several places you can go to find out more, some are more formal avenues to get advice, while others are about getting an informal support network.

We have tried to direct you to all the different types of support below.


You may want to talk things through with someone who can offer impartial information and advice about the different services. SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice and Support Service) is a free service for families with a child or young person with SEND. This service is free, accessible, confidential, impartial and provided at arm’s length from the Local Authority.


Support groups for parents and carers

Parent carers have told us that they get a lot of support and information from other parent carers, in a variety of ways. You may wish to join a local support group, or you might prefer to make contact on social media or online. 

Support groups for parents and carers

Useful websites and organisations

Many parents, carers and young people have found the internet and websites to be really helpful. A lot of organisations and charities offer help and support for SEND families, some are disability specific, others cover all disabilities. Because there is such a huge range of websites offering information, advice and support, covering all disabilities, we aren't able to list them all, but we've included ones recommended to us as a starting point.

Useful websites and organisations

Training opportunities for parents and carers

Parent carers have told us that they would like information on specialist training opportunities which may be available for them. They are offered by a number of different providers and cover many different areas.

Training for parents and carers

SEND Services

If you have any questions about Education, Health and Care Plans you can contact Worcestershire County Council's SEND Services:

Call the helpline: 01905 845579
Email: sen@worcschildrenfirst.org.uk

Advocacy services for children and young people

The Department for Education commissions a national advocacy helpline to support the rights of children to be heard. The service is provided by the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS).

The NYAS ‘Safety Net’ helpline service offers:

  • helpline advice and support
  • signposting to local services
  • issue-based advocacy
  • specialist non-instructed advocacy
  • advocacy finder service
  • self-advocacy information

The service accepts referrals from children and young people, professionals working with young people, friends, families, and carers.

The service will be available to:

  • children in care and care leavers up to age 25
  • children and young people needing support from children’s services, including those on child in need plans, child protection plans, or who are 16 to 17 years old and homeless

NYAS will also continue to support refugee and migrant children and young people, as well as young people in mental health settings.

The details for accessing the service are:

Worcestershire County Council also has details of advocacy services in Worcestershire here: Someone to speak up for you (advocacy).

Families in Partnership

Families in Partnership - If you would like to know more about how you can get involved with shaping services, Families in Partnership is Worcestershire's parent carer forum.

They are an independent group of parent carers of SEND children who work alongside Worcestershire County Council, education, health and other providers to make sure the services they deliver meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in the county.

Non-SEND specific agencies

The following organisations can provide information and support, which you may find useful, but they are not specifically for SEND related queries.

Onside Advocacy - Onside Advocacy provides practical and proactive support to ensure disadvantaged people are treated fairly as citizens and have equal rights within all aspects of their lives.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) - PALS is available to help patients, relatives and carers with questions and concerns about health services.

Healthwatch Worcestershire- Healthwatch helps to give a voice to the public, patients and users of health and social care services in Worcestershire. They can signpost you to organisations that can support you and help you to share what you think about local health and social care services.

Citizens Advice - the Citizens Advice website has lots of advice to help you find a way forward, whatever the problem. You can also call a local team who can give you free, confidential and impartial advice.

SEND Local Offers in other areas

All Local Authority areas have their own version of the SEND Local Offer website. Here are the links to the neighbouring Local Authorities SEND Local Offer websites, which may be particularly useful if you live close to the border, or your child attends a setting in another county.

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