New host for the SEND Parent Carer Forum in Hackney
Hackney Education and Health Partners are launching a partnership with City & Hackney Carers Centre, who will become the host organisation responsible for developing a new DfE-funded SEND Parent Carer Forum. This follows an engagement process that began in autumn 2022, which sought to find out the opinions of residents on the proposed model for a hosted parent carer forum.
A parent carer forum is a group of parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), that aims to make sure the local services meet the needs of SEND children, their families and carers. The forum offers a platform to gather the views of local families, and then works in partnership with local authorities, education settings, health providers and other partners to highlight where local services, processes and commissioners are working well, or challenge when changes or improvements need to be made.
Parent and carer participation is a core principle in the delivery of services for children and young people with SEND. The Hackney Independent Forum For Parents/Carers of Children with Disabilities (HiP) helped inform the design of Hackney SEND services in the past. The new parent carer forum, with strategic and logistical help from City & Hackney Carers Centre, will act as a host organisation supporting volunteer-run groups like HiP, providing a collective voice and acting as a ‘critical friend’ for service providers, working in partnership with other organisations to create change through the co-production of services.
I know and respect so many parents and carers who get organised and advocate for their children and families, and who so often come together in volunteer-run groups to make the case for children with SEND. In particular, I'd like to acknowledge and thank the members of HiP, who have offered invaluable contributions to the council and to the parents and carers they support - especially for the information they shared with me in their parent carer forum role at the onset of the pandemic when I was first appointed to my Cabinet role in 2020.
We need to hear, understand and meet the challenges children with SEND experience whether it's in childcare, education or out in the public realm, but also understand the pressure on parents and carers when they can feel pulled every which way at once.
I hope everyone will benefit from the development of this new host structure and am looking forward to meeting with City & Hackney Carers Centre to hear about the next steps.