Parent carer forums (England)

What is a parent carer forum?

A parent carer forum is an organised group of parents and carers of disabled children from a local area. Their aim is to make sure that services in their area meet the needs of disabled children and their families. 

They do this by gathering the views of local families and by working in partnership with local authorities, education settings, health providers and other providers to highlight where local services, processes and commissioners are working well, or challenge when changes or improvements need to be made.

Contact is the delivery partner of the Department for Education in supporting parent carer forums in England.

How can I get involved with my local parent carer forum?

You can find your local parent carer forum in the public contact details for the parent carer forums in England.

There are different ways you might get to know your local parent carer forum:


Sharing your views with a forum

Parent carer forums might survey or consult with parent carers in their area to ask their opinions on a service. They will have representatives on local working groups where the views gathered are fed in, ensuring that they're listened to and considered by services.  

Forums are keen to hear from as many parent carers as possible, because forums represent the views of all parent carers in the local area rather than advocating for individual families. There is usually a steering group of parents who lead this work, and forums are supported by an annual grant from the Department for Education.


Joining a forum

Parents or carers of a child with any type of additional need or disability are welcome to join their local forum.

Joining does not mean you have to commit lots of time. Forums have different levels of membership, and you might choose to join only to receive information on local issues or to take part in surveys or consultations.

If you want to become more actively involved, your local forum will be able to tell you what roles are available.

More information

For further information on parent carer forums, and what they do, you can visit our webpages for forums.

If you'd like to contact your local forum, you'll find contact details for all forums in England on our PCF pages.