Getting family support - guidance for parents and carers

Children do well when their parents or carers give them a good standard of care. Sometimes parents and carers need help and support to do this. This could be for a short time, or for longer.

The earlier you seek help, the less damage will be done and the easier it will be to sort out the difficulties that you, your child and your family face. 

We want to prevent children from being harmed and from coming into care. So we will take steps to provide support as soon as we know there is a problem. Help can come from several different departments and agencies. We aim to bring them together to give the support that is needed. 

When might families need support?

All sorts of children and families can have problems. This could be because of disability or family breakdown or from difficulties that many parents face in responding to their child's changing needs. It could be from domestic violence, or issues of drug and alcohol misuse. 

You may not know that your child is having problems. However there are things that will alert professionals to the possibility that there is something wrong. This includes:

  • missed health appointments
  • behavioural problems
  • not going to school or poor progress at school
  • not being clean
  • not looking after themselves
  • hurting themselves on purpose.

What to do if you need help - contact us

If you need advice and support to help you deal with any problems your child may have, contact our ACCESS Team on 0121 569 3100.

You could also speak to your doctor, the school or school nurse, or another care professional. Try to tell them about what's happening as openly and honestly as you can.

Parenting can be difficult for everyone at times, and it is important that you get help early on, before the situation gets worse. It can often help to talk it over with someone who does not know you personally. 

What happens if you need more help

When professionals, such as teachers, school nurses or childcare workers, know that you may need support, they will talk to you about how they can help.

If it is not possible for their agency to provide the right service or advice they will request your permission to ask another agency to help. We always ask parents' and carers' for permission to share information amongst groups of professionals, unless the child is at serious risk.

If a number of agencies are involved a meeting may be arranged to plan a way forward. You and your child will be invited to the meeting and will be encouraged to share your views. Representatives from the various agencies will work with you and your child to find a successful way forward.

It is important that you and your child attend all the meetings you are invited to. You have the right to express your views at any time and have everything explained to you.

By law, all information about your family is treated in the strictest confidence. We need your permission to share information about you and your child, unless there are serious concerns about your child's safety.

Read more in our leaflet about accessing family support.

Impartial advice and information for families involved with children's services

The Family Rights Group offers a confidential advice line and online discussion boards for parents and kinship carers. The website contains extensive free legal and practical advice and information, including films, as well as e-publications on the child welfare system.