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Support for You and Your Family

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There are many ways in East Sussex for families of children with 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 carer 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

The East Sussex Parent Carer Forum (ESPCF) is a forum for parent carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in East Sussex. Find out more by visiting their website:


Amaze are a local charity who run Face 2 Face Befriending, which is a peer support service offering families in Sussex support around the time of their child's SEND diagnosis or new challenges:

Directory on 1Space

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

Sibling Wellbeing (Sibs)

The ISEND Sibling Service (Sibs) support children aged 6 to 17 who have a brother or sister with a disability.

The service is for brothers and sisters of disabled children who do not:

For more information on the Sibling Service and to get in touch, please click the below links:

Please note: there is a national charity that support brothers and sisters, which is also called 'Sibs' (the two are not linked). They provide information, advice and guidance. To find out more, you can visit their website by clicking the link below:

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 (SEND Information Advice and Support Service) offer a free, independent and impartial local telephone advice line that can be a good place to start seeking practical support. This service can be contacted on:

Alternatively, you can visit their website for more information:


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. You can view their full service details on our directory, by clicking the below link:

Open for Parents

Open for Parents is a website that offers advice and guidance on parenting in East Sussex. You can visit their website by clicking the below link:

Short Breaks and Respite

Short breaks, also known as respite, can be leisure activities and clubs for children with special needs and disabilities. Your child can have fun and learn new skills while you have a break from caring. You can find out more by visiting our page on:

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.

Can I apply?

You can have a parent carer assessment if you:


To understand what multiple and complex needs mean, please follow the link below to see what levels 3 and 4 look like on the Continuum of Need:

For more information on the continuum of need, please visit the below link:

How to Apply?

To enquire about a parent carers assessment you can:

Parent carers can also apply using the same form as carer’s 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 follow this link to an NHS website that will help you find a Mental Health Support line (England only):

Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) 

CAMHS provide specialist NHS services and support to children and young people up to the age of 18, and their families and carers who are experiencing difficulties with their emotional, psychological and mental health. They have teams of staff across Sussex and in the community who can help you and your family to get the support that you need.

The CAMHS website provides a wide range of information, advice, resources and more, including:

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 websites:

You can find more help and information on how to look after yourself, on the Amaze website:


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

Initially, we recommend speaking to Relate who offer 8 sessions of free counselling to carers in East Sussex. This includes those who are caring for children. 

To find out more please follow the below link to their site:

Directory on 1Space

Part of the East Sussex Local Offer includes the directory, on East Sussex 1Space. The directory includes numerous other charities and community groups that offer health and wellbeing support for children, young people, parents and carers. 

You can visit the directory by clicking the links below:

Counselling via Text Message

Health and Wellbeing for Children and Young People

The East Sussex Local Offer has a specific page dedicated to children and young people's wellbeing. Please follow this link:

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':

Get in touch