Support services for families with SEND children

We understand that caring for and looking after a child or young person with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can be rewarding and challenging.

Support groups, networks and parent carer forums provide a valuable source of advice, guidance and information. They also give you the opportunity to meet parents and families who may be encountering similar challenges to those you experience.

Find out what activities and community groups are available for you and your family in and around Kent:

  • Children's centres - come and meet parents, have fun or get information, advice and support.
  • Early Help support - find local services that supports Kent families with the educational, social and emotional needs of children.
  • Health Visiting Service -  specialist community public health nurses who provide expert advice, support and interventions for families expecting a new baby or those with children under 5 years old.
  • Kent Children and Families Information Service (CFIS) - provides impartial childcare advice.
  • Portage - supports pre-school children with special educational needs and disabilities. They work with families, focusing on planned play activities to help your child’s development.

Health support

  • Changing Places toilets and RADAR keys - find your nearest accessible toilet with additional features to meet the needs of people with a range of disabilities and their carers.
  • Disabled Children's Register - register your disabled child with us and help us plan services for disabled children. You may also get the Max Card (a discount card)
  • General health - learn about how the NHS and local health care providers can support your family.
  • Mental health - mental health support if you're feeling anxious, stressed or low.

Social care support

  • Report abuse - contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to report abuse of a child.
  • Social care - if you think your child requires additional support from social care, you can contact us to ask for a free assessment.

Wellbeing

  • Bullying - support for parents, families, and children to find support if they're having problems with bullying.
  • Online safety -  helping children, staff and parents understand online risks.

Parent support groups

In Kent there are a number of voluntary organisations, support groups and advice charities active that can help you, often for free.

  • Contact - find parent groups for children and young people with the same SEND needs near you.
  • For us Too -  Canterbury, Swale and Thanet
  • Includes Us 2 - Ashford, Dover and Shepway
  • Space 2 Be Me - Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells
  • We are Beams - Dartford, Gravesham and Sevenoaks.

Find other parent support groups on our community directory.

Parent support services

  • Kent Resilience Hub resources - a wide range of resources to support your child growing up into adulthood and understanding their behaviour.
  • Short breaks - short breaks are positive, fun activities for disabled children and young people (0 to 18) to take part in. They can be anything from a couple of hours at an after school activity or weekend club to an overnight stay for those with more profound needs.
  • Support for carers - help and support for those who regularly care for another person in Kent.

Sibling support

There are many charities that can support siblings of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Find out who can help your family.

Independent impartial parent support

  • Kent Parent and Carer Together (PACT) - is the parent carer forum for parents of children and young people with disabilities. Join their forum to help get your voice heard and meet other parents.
  • Information, Advice and Support Kent (IASK) - a free, confidential and impartial service based in Kent to support you and your family. IASK also offer parent workshops and local events.

Our strategies, guides, statements and standards help to shape the way we deliver and improve our SEND service.

Learn more about:

SEND code of practice

The SEND code of practice is statutory guidance for organisations that work with and support SEND children and young people. The DfE sets out guidelines that should be followed by us and education settings.

Read the SEND code of practice.

SEND green paper

The government's green paper contains proposals to change the current SEND and alternative provision system.

Visit the government website to read the paper, read an easy read version, or watch BSL videos of the chapters.

Impartial legal support

If you are looking for impartial free independent advice and support, contact either IPSEA or IASK.

Online training and workshops for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND are available throughout the year.

The training may focus on specific needs, or to support your child as they prepare themselves for adulthood.

Find training opportunities.

Find out what support is available for you and your family to travel independently around Kent and beyond.

  • Blue Badge - the Blue Badge scheme helps you park nearer to your destination if you have a disability.
  • Getting around independently - find out what support is available to you when travelling in and around Kent, including community transport, taxi services, trains and much more.

We also have a number of documents, support and guidance available in easy read formats.