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Support for You and Your Family

Four adults and one child sat down having a chat.


There are many ways in East Sussex for families of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to receive additional support. Support might come from SEND-specific services or more general support for families. 

On this page you will find descriptions of some of the support that is available.

Meeting Other Parents and Carers

Sometimes, the best support for parents and carers of children with SEND will come from peers. This might be parents and carers with children the same age as yours, or, parents and carers whose children are now older and they have some experience of what you might be going through.

East Sussex Parent Carer Forum

East Sussex Parent Carer Forum (ESPCF) is a forum for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND in East Sussex:


Amaze Face 2 Face offers peer support to parent carers through regular social groups, workshops, events and one to one befriending. They support parents, particularly at the point of SEND diagnosis. They offer various groups, and one to one support:

East Sussex Local Offer directory, on 1Space

Part of the East Sussex Local Offer includes the directory, on East Sussex 1Space. The directory includes numerous services, charities and community groups that can offer support in meeting other parents and carers:

Family Hubs and Youth Hubs

Family and Youth Hubs offer a chance for parents and young people to meet with others, across East Sussex. These hubs often offer SEN groups, as well as opportunities to share experiences with other parents and young people:

Sibling Wellbeing

Sibling Service (Sibs)

The Sibling Service (Sibs) provide short breaks and activity days for children aged 6 to 17 who have a brother or sister with a disability:

Please note: there is a national charity that support brothers and sisters, which is also called Sibs. These two services are not linked. The national charity provides information, advice and guidance.

Young Carers Service

Care for the Carers offer a Young Carers Service. This service is for all young carers, aged 5 to 17 years, living, attending school or caring for someone in East Sussex - this includes siblings and friends. The service provides support to young carers before they reach crisis point and to help their physical and mental wellbeing.

The Young Carers Service provides young carers with support and fun activities to get involved with.

Three children working on a school project that involves a laptop and a robot, while an adult is stood next to them.

Practical Support, Advice and Guidance


Families of children with SEND sometimes need practical support. This might include help around benefits, work, housing, or adaptations to the home. 

Amaze SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) are a local charity who offer free, independent, and impartial advice for all matters relating to SEND. Contact Amaze SENDIASS:


CLASS+ works across East Sussex to support families/carers of Autistic children and young people. Their aim is to provide guidance and training that enables families/carers to build their understanding of the strengths and challenges faced by Autistic children and young people and to develop greater confidence in how to support them. The team is part of the CLASS service:

Care for the Carers

Care for the Carers are a local, independent charity who support and represent unpaid carers in East Sussex.

Their team can provide free practical and emotional advice – face to face, by telephone, or online. They can put you in touch with other carers, and help you navigate the range of services available locally. They also run support groups, training and events across the county – whether you are interested in speaking up on important issues, or having some time out to relax or meet new people.

Open for Parents

Open for Parents is a website that offers advice and guidance on parenting in East Sussex:

Short Breaks and Respite

Short breaks, also known as respite, are a range of services that support children, young people and their families. These allow children and young people some time away from their families, while enjoying new experiences. 

Find out more by visiting our page on short breaks.

The short breaks page also explains the process for providers on how they can apply for a short breaks grant.

Parent and Carer Assessments

Parent and carers of disabled children up to 18 can apply for an assessment which looks at:

After an assessment the local authority will give you information about other services and ideas to support you in your caring role.

Eligibility for Applying

You can have a parent carer assessment if you:


The East Sussex County Council website has web pages outlining what multiple and complex needs mean, including what levels 3 and 4 look like on the Continuum of Need:

How to Apply

To enquire about a parent carers assessment you can:

Parent carers can also apply using the same form as carers looking after adults:

Health and Wellbeing for Adults

Parents and carers of children with SEND sometimes need wellbeing or mental health support themselves. This support could come from self-care routines, peers (see our section, Meeting Other Parents and Carers), or professional counselling. You could be seeking support because you need general wellbeing support or because you need to talk a specific thing through.

It is important to try to recognise early when you need support and seek it out.

Please note: If you are struggling to cope then you may need to seek out immediate support. You can either make an emergency call to your GP or use the NHS website to find a local NHS urgent mental health helpline in England.

Sussex Mental Healthline

The Sussex Mental Healthline is a 24/7 telephone service offering listening support, advice, information and signposting to anyone experiencing difficulties with their mental health or relatives, friends, carers and healthcare professionals. You do not need an appointment.

If you need support right now, this is a good place to start.

Health in Mind

Health in Mind are dedicated to improving mental wellbeing. They deliver free courses, therapy, online programmes and 1:1 talking therapies for people in East Sussex:

Someone using a laptop, which is displaying both the East Sussex Local Offer and East Sussex 1Space logo.

East Sussex 1Space

East Sussex 1Space is East Sussex County Council's free online directory. It brings together groups and organisations that offer care, support and wellbeing services to people in East Sussex. While the Local Offer joined the directory in 2021, it was originally created by Adult Social Care and Health in 2012. The directory provides thousands of local and online support services, including lots of help for adults who need support with their mental health:

You can also browse the Local Offer categories on 1Space. These categories provide services specifically aimed at children and young people with SEND, and their parent carers:

Self care

Self-care means taking small actions that can have a positive impact on your health. This can be important for parents and carers as it can fit into busy routines sometimes more easily than counselling sessions or similar.

There are many great self care guides available. Parents and carers in East Sussex who we have consulted have recommended the following web pages:


Counselling is a good way for parents and carers to talk through the things that they find challenging. Counselling can either be:

Health and Wellbeing for Children and Young People

The East Sussex Local Offer has specific pages dedicated to children and young people's wellbeing, personal health and mental health:

Getting Involved

Many parents and carers find it fulfilling to contribute to the development of services for children and young people with SEND.

Visit our Have Your Say page to find out how you can get involved.

Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms

Some of the terms used on this website are explained on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.

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