Earlier this year, Sheffield City Council had asked us to help them find out whether current support services for parents of disabled children were meeting local needs.
We gathered parents’ views through a combination of questionnaires (139 responses) and consultation workshops (21 participants), and found some interesting results:
• 43% of questionnaire respondents answered “Yes” to the question “Have you ever sought information, advice or support in relation to caring for your disabled child, but couldn’t find a service that offered what you were looking for?”
• There was a clear message from the workshops that parents would like to receive practical support to access and coordinate services. Parents felt that this would best be provided via a key worker system.
• The main areas parents wanted help with were: benefit applications, renewals and appeals; child health services; support at school or college for their disabled child; leisure services for their disabled child; and support with managing their child’s behaviour.
• Parents confirmed that they would like to receive all their information, advice and support from a single source, but delivered in a variety of ways (e.g. telephone helpline, support at meetings, home visits etc.).
• Many parents faced additional barriers, such as having a disability or long-term illness themselves, having more than one disabled child, or also caring for an adult.
Workshop participants also raised issues in relation to specific services (e.g. SNIPS, Direct Payments, childcare, respite) and made suggestions for improvement. Whilst some of this feedback extended beyond the remit of the consultation, it is nevertheless very important. We are currently working with officers to identify how this feedback can be shared with senior Council and NHS managers.
A full consultation report will shortly be published on this website, and we are also hoping to publish a response from the Council later this year.
Please call us on 0300 321 4721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to us to email or post the report to you.