Caring for a child as a parent carer

Caring for a child as a parent carer

Caring for a child with a disability or additional needs can be very challenging.

Where possible, it's important that you look after your own wellbeing by using local community networks and any practical support, information and advice available for families of disabled children in Derbyshire.

Getting practical support

The NHS website has lots of practical tips on caring for a disabled child including, communicating with your child, eating, sleeping, challenging behaviour and mobility. They also have further information about caring for a child with complex needs and support for you as a carer.

The Derbyshire School Nurse Service will be happy to support you and your child in any way they can. You may just want someone just to talk to, someone to help make sure your child is as healthy as possible or someone to help you access support groups and services to help you with your caring role.

You can speak to your child's school and ask them for the details of the nurse attached to the school. Or you can contact Derbyshire Community Health Services (who provide school nursing services):

  • If you live in the north of Derbyshire ring tel: 01246 299933
  • If you live in the south of Derbyshire ring tel: 01773 525059 ext 5591 

Financial support and benefits

As a parent carer it is important to make sure you are getting all the financial and practical support you are entitled to. The GOV.UK website has information about help for parents of disabled children including benefits, short breaks, the Motability Scheme, home adaptations and education.

The Derbyshire Welfare Rights Service can help make sure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to and can support you with appeals and tribunals if necessary. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 11am to 4.3pm on tel: 01629 531535

Derbyshire Parent Carer Voice

Derbyshire Parent Carer Voice is a charity which is run by parent/carer volunteers who have children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities. It has been set up to help parents have a say in how services for children in Derbyshire are run. To find out more or get involved please visit the Derbyshire Parent Carer Voice website.

Support for parent carers from Derbyshire County Council - including breaks for carers

As an adult caring for a child with disabilities or additional needs, you will usually be supported through Derbyshire County Council's Children's services. Support for you as a carer, including any respite services, will be considered as part of your child's assessment. However, you can ask the Council's adult social care services to assess your needs as a carer before your child turns 18 as part of their transition to adulthood support

You can find out more about how to access short breaks and respite services on the Derbyshire County Council website.

Derbyshire County Council provide or help to fund a range other services for parent carers including the Families Information Services and local charities and suport groups. You'll find details of these services listed below. 

Support groups and services

Many parent carers find that the best place to get support is from other parents who are in the same position and who understand what it is like to care for a child with a disability or additional needs. 

Commissioned by Derbyshire County Council

Fairplay offers support to children with disabilities and/or additional needs and their families across North Derbyshire. The service offers parents general information, advice and support and may be able to provide respite care. They also offer parent carer support groups which enable parents to meet other parents in an open and friendly environment. Contact Fairplay on tel: 01246 203963

Umbrella offers information, advice and support groups across Amber Valley, South Derbyshire, Erewash and the South Derbyshire Dales. Contact Umbrella on tel: 01332 785658

Parenting Additional Needs (PAN) is a friendly and welcoming support group for parents and carers of children with additional needs in Derbyshire. The group started off with 3 members in 2013 but now help support over 100 families at locations all over the county. Contact PAN on tel: 07973 616043

Special Needs Circle run a parent support group in Ripley and Swadlincote. Tel: 07495 551974 for details

Aspire run a parent support group in Chesterfield twice a month. Tel: 01246 23070

Aspire/Stockport CP run a parent carer support group in the High Peak / North Dales twice a month. Tel: 01298 23970

Other groups and services

Autism Pyramid Group run parent carer support groups and stay and play sessions in the Ashbourne area. Follow them on Facebook for more information.

ASD ADHD Parent Carer Support Group meet monthly in Chesterfield. Contact or follow join thier Facebook group.

Home Start in the High Peak offers support, friendship and practical help to parents and carers with young children throughout the High Peak area. Trained volunteers offer informal, confidental support and advice. Tel: 01298 72777

Home Start Erewash offers friendship and informal support to parents and carers who have at least one child under five. Trained volunteers with parenting experience offer support, friendship and practical help to parents dealing with issues such as isolation, bereavement, multiple births, illness, disability or those who are just finding parenting a struggle. Tel: 01159 9304640

Home Start South Derbyshire supports local families / parent carers who are struggling to cope for whatever reason. It could be problems with post-natal depression, disability, mental health issues, domestic violence, parenting, bereavement, addiction and much more. Tel: 01283 210107

Autism East Midlands run a local hub in Heanor on the 4th Saturday of the month. The sessions are free drop-in sessions and the whole family is welcome to attend. Autism East Midlands can offer support, information and advice to parent carers and adults with autism. Tel: 01909 506678

Your Own Space are parents/carers of children or adults with Autism who have set up a support group for people who may feel isolated and would like to meet other parents, carers for some informal support and social opportunities. Contact Julie Baker on tel: 07811512661. The group are next meeting on 30 May at 7pm at Derbyshire Autism Services, Ripley.

SENsational Families is a support group for parents of children with Autism, SEN additional needs and disabilities.  They provide support and advice for parents in the High Peak area.

More services that support parent carers, including support groups for carers of children with autism are listed on the Carers Directory and also on the Derbyshire Local Offer website.

Families Information Service 

Derbyshire County Council's Families Information Service is a searchable directory of services including; parent carer support groups, childcare, short break providers, activities for children with additional needs, health services for disabled children and much more. You can also contact the service by:

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Support 

If your child has special educational needs there is information and advice about the support available on the Derbyshire Local Offer website, including support groups for parent carers.  

Derbyshire Information, Advice and Support Service for SEND provide independent advice and support to parents and carers of children aged up to 25 who have special educational needs and disabilities. 

SENDS Support LTD provide advice and practical support for families of children with special needs. They can help with communication and social interaction, sensory processing, positive behaviour support and life skills. They also offer advocacy, support with EHCP's, and attend meetings with schools. As a business they charge for advice and advocacy but offer a 30 minutes free initial consultation. You can find them on Facebook or call 07525437294 or 07564924653.

You can find out about SEND support on the Derbyshire County Council website. There's a 'my child has...' section detailing the educational support that may be available to children with conditions including autism, learning disabilities, dyslexia, behavioural difficulties, sensory needs as well as physical disabilities.

Online communities

There are a variety of local and national online support groups and forums for parent carers where you can speak to someone about your worries, get advice or just chat to people in a similar situation.


If you've just become a parent carer you may find that your circumstances put a big strain on your relationships, inlcluding your relationship with your partner, family members or friends. Our dealing with relationships page has tips and advice that may be useful.

The Carers Trust has also developed a relationship guide for parent carers that covers relationships with your partner, other children, friends and family. 

Other helpful websites

This information was last updated on 04/07/2022

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