Tania and I are both co-chairs of Parent Carer Forums and we do mention them quite a lot.
I Co-Chair Kent PEPs with the fab Sarah, who knows when to reign me in and also is one of the most organised people I know. Sarah will be the person who has printed everything off before our meeting and the one who replies to emails quickly.
What is a Parent Carer Forum?
A parent carer forum is a group made up of parents and carers of disabled children who work with local authorities, education, health services and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver really meet the needs of disabled children and families.
The forum represents the views of parents in the local area but does not advocate for individual families. There is usually a steering group of parents who lead this and listen to the views of other parents in the local area to make sure they know what is important to them. Forums are keen to make contact with as many parent carers as possible.
In England there are now forums in almost all local areas.
Who can join a parent carer forum?
Forums are 'pan disability' which means that parents or carers of a child with any type of additional need or disability are welcome to join - as they are likely to need to access services and support. Joining your forum does not mean you have to commit lots of time. In most forums you can join and receive information, and you then decide if you want to get more involved at your own pace.
Taken from Contact a Family website
We are all part of a National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) which is a network of parent carer forums across England. It too has a steering group made up of parent carer representatives from across England. NNPCF make sure that parent carer forums are aware of what is happening nationally, and that the voice of parent carers is fed from local parent carer forums into national developments, working with the Department for Education, the Department of Health, and other partners.
Contact a Family support the work of the National Network of Parent Carer forums and offer us relevant training and a variety of conferences and regional meetings.
If you would like to find out if you have a local Parent Carer Forum, then we have added a page to our site with their details for you.
If you are a member of a Parent Carer Forum steering group, we also have a group on Facebook which you are welcome to join.
Getting involved with your local Parent Carer Forum is such a great way to have a say and really help to influence decisions made about services in your area. Most of the forums are always looking for new members to participate so get in touch.