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Funding boost for our parent participation work and national advice service

Thursday 11th February 2021

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced it is re-awarding our current contracts supporting parent carer forums (PCFs) across England and our national advice service for another year.

The funding extension means we are able continue working with 151 PCFs across England, to make sure their voices are heard at local, regional and national level. It also enables us to  continue our support offer to families with disabled children through our online information and helpline  - particularly important at the moment with many families telling us they feel left in lockdown, caring round the clock as well as home schooling and home nursing.

The funding for our parent participation work and national advice service are included in a multi million package announced by the DfE to help improve educations standards, improve services and provide practical support to families and children with Special Educational Needs (SEND).

Contact's CEO, Amanda Batten, says: "We are delighted that the Department for Education continues to recognise the importance of having parent carers at the heart of shaping disabled children's services and the invaluable support our online and helpline advice service provides to families when they need it most.  

"The pandemic has impacted greatly on the lives of families with disabled children and it's vital that local and national decision makers listen to families and make the difference to support services families say matter most. At the same time, demand for our national advice service is growing as families hit hard by the pandemic turn to us for help. We welcome the extension of our current contracts with the DfE to deliver this work over 2021/22. It means we'll be able to continue to be there for families when they need us most during the pandemic and beyond."

Contact helps to empower 151 parent carer forums and their membership of over 97,000 parent carers across England, to influence local, regional and national services and legislation. We provide access to an annual DfE grant and support forums with their day-to-day running. Today's funding announcement means that Contact will  continue to lead the strategic participation consortium for parent carers and children and young people alongside the Council for Disabled Children, KIDS and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF).

Our national information and advice service includes our website, social media channels, telephone helpline and live chat. Last year our helpline-online advice provided advice to 10,644 families, with invaluable information on a range of issues including financial support and getting help for a child in school. The DfE funding announced today enables us to continue our vital role working in partnership working with the Council for Disabled Children, to ensure that in every local authority area children and young people with Special Educational Needs and their families have access to high quality impartial information and advice about the services and support on offer.            

Find out more about our parent participation work and parent carer forums.

Find out more about our helpline and online advice service.