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This website is only one part of the Local Offer; we also have a directory which you can visit at

Support for You and Your Family

Four adults and one child sat down having a conversation.


There are many ways in East Sussex for families of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to receive extra 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.

Early Help Service 0–19

The Early Help Service 0–19 can help support your family from pregnancy until your child is 19.

The service consists of East Sussex County Council and NHS professionals. They can offer a wide range of support at your home, from a Family Hub or a Youth Hub.

They can offer help and support through:

The Early Help Service 0-19 helps to identify and support early years Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Please note, accessing keywork support depends on your child's level of need. Please contact your Health Visiting team to find out more. The main NHS provides more information:

Meeting Other Parents and Carers

Sometimes, the best support for parents and carers of children with SEND will come from peers. This might be from:

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. They work together to ensure every parent carer in East Sussex feels that their voice, their views and their experiences matter. They contribute towards developing and improving services.

Parent Groups and Befriending (Amaze) 

Amaze run local support groups for parents of children and young people with SEND. The groups are informal and run regularly. The group is called Parent Groups and Befriending.

They also offer one-to-one befriending for those parents who need more individual support.

At the groups, you’ll meet other parents and carers who know what it’s like to bring up kids with additional needs. Sessions are sometimes based around:

You can find out more by visiting the Amaze website:

East Sussex Local Offer directory, on 1Space

Part of the East Sussex Local Offer includes the directory, on East Sussex 1Space. The directory includes 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 offer opportunities to share experiences with other parents and young people. They all offer SEN-specific groups:

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 also a national charity that support brothers and sisters 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 (5 to 17 years old) 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. It also aims to help their physical and mental wellbeing.

The Young Carers Service provides young carers with support and fun activities to get involved with. You can find out more on the Care for the Carers website:

Three children working together on a project. One child is sat touching a robot that they're working on, while another child is using a laptop on the same table. An adult is standing near them, smiling.

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. They offer free, independent, and impartial advice for all matters relating to SEND. Contact Amaze SENDIASS by:

Visit the Amaze SENDIASS web page.


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. They support and represent unpaid carers in East Sussex.

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

Online Parenting Courses - Family Hubs

The Family Hubs website offers online parenting courses for children and teenagers:

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 the meaning of multiple and complex needs. This includes what levels 3 and 4 look like on the Continuum of Need:

How to Apply

To enquire about a parent carers assessment you can:

Parents and carers can also apply using the same form as carers looking after adults. This can be found on the main East Sussex County Council website:

Housing, Income and Benefits

This website has a page outlining housing, income and benefit information.

Visit our Housing, Income and Benefits web page to find out more.

Health and Wellbeing for Adults

Parents and carers of children with SEND sometimes need wellbeing or mental health support too. This support could come from:

You could be seeking support because you need general wellbeing support or because you need to talk about a specific topic.

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. It offers 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. For people in East Sussex, they deliver:

Visit the Health in Mind website to find out more.

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. Adult Social Care created the directory in 2012. The Local Offer joined the directory in 2021.

The directory provides thousands of local and online support services. This includes 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 aimed at children and young people with SEND, and their parent and carers:

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

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 self-care can often fit into busy routines.

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


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

You can search for a therapist via:

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:

Learning Disability Register and Annual Health Checks

Learning Disability Register

The learning disability register is a list of individuals with a learning disability. This is kept by General Practitioner (GPs). Doctor’s surgeries will keep their own list.

Your child's doctor can use it to make sure they get the right support and in the right ways.

A family, a carer or the child themselves will need to contact their doctor's surgery to join the register.

Benefits of joining the register include reasonable adjustments being made to GP appointments. Adjustments may include:

Find out more by visiting the main East Sussex County Council website:

Annual Health Checks

Annual health checks are for people with a learning disability who are over 14 years old.

A doctor or nurse will carry out the annual health check. They take place once a year, every year after a child turns 14. The aim is to help children and young people stay healthy. The doctor or nurse will contact you or your child by a phone-call, or by sending a letter or email.

Please note, your child needs to be on the learning disability register to be invited to an annual health check.

During the check, a doctor or a nurse should ask your child questions such as:

A doctor or nurse may also:

The doctor or nurse will provide a health action plan at the end of the annual health check. The health action plan is specific to each child and should offer advice on how they can keep healthy.

Find out more by visiting the main East Sussex County Council website:

Learning Disability Liaison Service

The NHS also offer a learning disability liaison service. The service is for those accessing hospital and community services. It aims to:

A full-time learning disability nurse specialist can support:

Find out more by visiting the NHS website:

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

We explain some of the terms used on this website on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.

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