SENsational Families SEND Family Support Policy

This policy provides guidelines and explains the reach of the SENsational Families SEND Families Parent Support Team services available to SEND Families in Norfolk.

The SENsational Families SEND Parent Support Team offer advice to families and carers with children under the age of 19 effected by special educational needs, disabilities, and any related difficulties.
The SEND Parent Support Team reports to and is funded by SENsational Families, the Charity. The SEND Parent Support Team services and staff are funded entirely by voluntary charitable donations, fundraising and grants which means it is a free to use service. 

Definitions

For ease of reading, some wordings have been reduced to initials throughout this policy. A list of the definitions within this policy are below: 

  • PST - Parent Support Team
  • PSA – Parent Support Adviser
  • SF – SENsational Families
  • SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

SEND Parent Support Service Scope

Our services can be accessed by any parent or carer regardless of if their child has an official diagnosis or not.  We offer support in a number of areas (see list below), however we cannot provide any assistance with Tribunals or when other professionals are already involved or become involved when they are providing support or advice in the same area as you are asking SENsational Families for.

Our services are for parents and carers living within the county of Norfolk, in the UK.

The level of support services we are able to provide may change from time to time depending on the number of families we are working with. We normally operate on a first come, first serve referral system.  However, when we are experiencing a high level of referrals and are close to reaching our caseload, we may need to use our traffic light system which means the very serious cases will jump the queue.  

At times when we are dealing with a number of complicated or serious cases, we may be unable to accept any new referrals because we have no staff available.  When this happens, we may have to close our PST service to new users until we are back to a manageable level of cases.

Our services are not to replaced or be used as a substitute to the services that should be provided by the NHS, Social Services, Education or the Norfolk County Council.  

Once we have provided support and can provide no further assistance, we will close your case.  This does not mean at a later date you cannot refer yourself back to us for further PSA support.

PSA Staff Contact

Our PSA’s have the right to immediately refuse to offer support services or work with anyone if they feel threatened, unsafe or endangered at any time. We operate a zero-tolerance approach which aims to protect our staff and volunteers against deliberate violence and acts of aggression; both verbal and physical. 

Our staff have set working hours and will be uncontactable outside of those hours. Emails and phone calls will be dealt with upon them returning to work. This includes times when PSA’s are in meetings.  Once you are allocated a PSA, they will let you know what their working days and hours are.

Staff cannot accept Social Media requests, friend requests or messaging from anyone accessing our Support Services. The only contact our PSA’s can accept is by prearranged meetings, phone calls, email or contact via our website. All incoming work will be prioritised and dealt with accordingly.
Parents/carers have the right to refuse support services from a SENsational Families staff member. However, an alternative may not be available due to workload and therefore the services offered will be terminated with immediate effect.  

Our PSA’s will endeavour to contact you and maintain regular contact. However, if a parent/carer is unable or unwilling to engage, we will have no option but to close the case and stop offering any further service. This includes if a PSA feels their recommendations and guidance is not being followed in-between contact to progress a situation.  If there is no contact made from a parent/carer over a 6-week period, their PSA will close their case.

Contact will be via phone calls and emails, with the occasional face to face meeting. We are unable to make home visits. Face to face meetings will be offered at our Support Groups / Clinics / Events. We can only travel to meetings with other agencies if pre-arranged. If there is repeated non-attendance by a parent/carer to pre-arranged appointments without notice, our support will no longer be available, and the case will be closed.

We are unable to work 1:1 with children, complete observations or provide a diagnosis.

Parent Support Team (PST) Resource

All services are restricted by caseload and subject to a PSA’s availability. Decisions will be made on family’s individual needs and circumstances on a case by case basis. 

We are a small team and our services are in high demand. Due to this, staff may not be able to make all meetings with professional services if outside that member of staff’s working hours.
If a member of staff is off work due to holiday or sickness, we may be unable to offer any service usually provided until the member of staff has returned to work.
Self Referrals

We can only accept self-referrals for support via our website or directly from one of our PSAs.  This is done by completing the online form or via a face to face appointment at one of our clinics/support groups. 

Areas of Support we can Provide

Below is a list of what our PSA’s will be able to support parents / carers in. This list is subject to change and we have the right to refuse to offer a service depending on what a PSA deems is in the best interest on an individual’s circumstance.

Education

  • Support including school meetings
  • Response to emails, phone calls
  • Paperwork including: Behaviour Plans, Care Plans & Individual Education Plans (IEP’s)
  • Support regarding school Inclusion and Exclusion
  • Signposting to appropriate agencies including specialist agencies for Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) Tribunals Assistance with starting EHCP’s and up to completion of the plan (please note we cannot support at any tribunal)
  • Assistance with transition planning alongside relevant agencies.

Health

  • Support including attending medical appointments and advice/guidance about information gathers from medical reports and letters. 
  • We are unable to lead on Family Support Plans (FSP’s) but can offer support and guidance around the FSP process. We can attend FSP meetings on a case by case basis.

Form Completion

We can help and assist with the completion of forms. However, we are unable to guarantee that an application will be successful.

  • DLA / PIP
  • Shortbreak applications
  • Family Fund
  • Financial hardship grant
  • Carers allowance

Other areas of support

  • Advice regarding Child Protection
  • Signposting to relevant agencies
  • Attend S17 and S47 meetings on a case by case basis when appropriate.

Complaints

We understand that you may not always be happy with our service. If you wish to discuss any upset or discontent regarding our services or staff, then please email the Charity Manager at the following email address:

[email protected]

Your complaint will be dealt with in line with our Complaints Policy which can be download from our website or you can request a copy by emailing the office ([email protected]).

Feedback

Feedback is incredibly important to us. It helps to make sure what we offer is relevant and needed in Norfolk. It also helps in aiding us to secure further funding. If you have any feedback, please email us at the following email address:

[email protected]

SENsational Families is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1173051.
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