Essex Family Forum
The Essex Family Forum is an independent group of parents and carers for children and young people with disabilities and/or additional needs aged 0 to 25. They aim to empower parents and influence the decisions that affect families.
The forum work with the following to make sure that the experiences of families good and bad, bring about positive change:
- local authority
- education settings
- health commissioners
- other providers
Essex Family Forum is also part of a wider network of parent carer forums including the Eastern Region Parent Carer Forum and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.
Being a member
Membership is open to anyone who is a parent or carer of a child or young person with any additional need or disability.
Forum members do not have to commit lots of their time and can choose how involved they want to be. They may provide the views and thoughts of parents in meetings or give feedback and take part in consultations to get the collective voice of parents heard. Some choose to simply stay informed about the work of the forum through the website and social media. There is no pressure.
How the forum works
The forum uses a model of Family Champions. Family Champions are parents from support groups or school coffee mornings who hear and record what is really happening for SEND families. They then share the examples with the forum’s Family Champion Leads in the four quadrants of Essex.
The Family Champion Leads make sure that the forum reaches as many families as they can in different locations, types of SEND and age group. The examples and issues they collect in their quadrants are shared further up to strategic level.
Essex Family Forum is part of many strategic groups. It needs to hear the views and experiences of as many families as possible to be able to represent them fully. The more members there are, the louder the parent carer voice can be.
Who the service provides for
Parents and carers of children and young people with any type of additional need and/or disability aged 0 to 25.