Written by Aneesah Archer - Member of the SEND project
The care and support of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is a critical issue that requires careful attention and support from both government and non-governmental organisations. Carers are also a massive part of the SEND community and the services that are available to them may be hard to come across. When dealing with such a sensitive subject as this, we must also consider the ones who support each individual and the support they need to support their children. There are, however, services and laws put into place to support SEND individuals and those supporting them.
Legal Framework and Support Services:
The legal framework for SEND children in England is governed by the Children and Families Act 2014, which aims to promote the participation of children and their parents and young people in decision-making, greater choice and control for young people and parents over support, and collaboration between education, health, and social care services to provide support. The Act places a duty on local authorities to assess and care for the SEN child, even if from a distance, and consider how children and parents can be supported. Local authorities are also required to provide a “Local Offer” to give parents information about help in their locality.
There are also local legal firms that specialise in SEN, more closely with carers and parents, seeking to tackle and help achieve justice in areas such as: securing additional support for educational needs; claims for disability discrimination; exclusion appeals; admission appeals; school non-attendance; and disputes with school, including bullying, out of education, home tuition and local transport. These legal services are critical in ensuring that SEND children receive the appropriate support and care they need to thrive.
A governmental guide is provided on the Gov website, “SEND Guide for Parents and Carers”, providing information on the law and guidance on which the system is based, places to go for help or further information, and a handy guideline on how to be a good carer/parent and where to go if you need support. The guide also provides insight into special educational needs tribunal if you are unhappy with the treatment of your child in their educational institution and guidelines on matters you can appeal to the special educational needs and disabilities tribunal. There is also a national trial which is underway to extend the powers of the First Tier (SEND) tribunal to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social care aspects of EHC plans.
Financial benefits, such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA), are available for carers of SEND children. DLA is often the first benefit that parents claim, which is split into mobility and care. The amount of money received depends on the level of personal care and mobility needed by the child. Direct payments have been newly introduced, aiming to give parents/carers and children the flexibility to use the money where it is needed most. Other benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Parental Leave and Grants are also available to carers of SEND children.
To conclude, caring for children with SEND can be a challenging task for parents and carers. However, the legal system and government guidelines offer support and resources to help navigate this complex process. With the combination of finance, governmental guidelines, tribunals, and The Children and Families Act 2014, we can provide an adequate level of support for SEND carers and parents. Carers/Parents are not alone in this journey and with access to the right support already given to the public, we can work together to relieve stress from such a challenging role.
If you need any further information or advice, drop us a DM on Instagram @thesendporject_uol or email our co-directors:
We are here to help!
The SEND Project