The parent carer forum is a group for parent carers of children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities living in Croydon. We are part of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) which joins up the work of forums across the country. At PiP we coordinate the forum through a steering group who meet monthly at the Carers Support Centre. There are currently 12 parent representatives in this group.
The forum exists to ensure we give voice to a wide range of parent carers in Croydon, to inform the design, development and improvement of local services.
It is the aim of the forum to represent a diverse range of families in Croydon and work together with representatives from Education, Health and Social Care to share evidence of the lived experiences of parent carers locally. We do this through a variety of means – meetings, consultations, emails, online surveys and events.
Key responsibilities of the forum
- To empower parent carers to speak up about their experiences
- To work in partnership with statutory and voluntary agencies to design, develop and improve local services, policies and practices
- To build productive relationships with key decisionmakers in the areas of Education, Health and Social Care in Croydon
- To identify key local priorities for parent carers
- To ensure the accountability of the Local Authority under SEND reforms and the Code of Practice
- To be active parent representatives in local working groups and on local boards
- To be up to date with local and national SEND developments
- To constantly drive change where needed
Examples of working groups and boards in Croydon with parent representation from the parent forum
- SEND strategic board
- SEND inspection readiness group
- Autism Partnership Board
- Hear Autism (working with Cllr Fitzpatrick, Autism Champion)
- Children’s Health Steering Group
- Children and Young People’s emotional health and wellbeing board
- 0-5 ASD diagnosis pathway working group
- Learning Disability Partnership Board
- Together We Can – co-production working group for adult services
- Local Offer stakeholder group (tbc)
SEND strategy implementation plan (2019 – 2022)
The strategy was agreed by Cabinet in April 2019 and the parent forum has volunteer parent reps in each of the respective workstreams. These are:
- Joint working between Education, Health and Social Care
- Early intervention/early identification
- Workforce development
- Post-16 transitions
- Better graduated response
Ongoing user reference input into an improved Local Offer, due to be officially launched in July 2019 Parent carers’ survey To be issued July 2019 Seldom Heard group Identifying ‘seldom heard’ groups in Croydon and how better to engage with them.
Being a parent forum member is empowering for parents, you feel like you are a part of the political landscape and you feel that your opinions are being heard.