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What is a Parent Carer Forum?
A Parent Carer Forum is a group of parents and carers of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). They are recognised by the Department for Education, OfSted and CQC as the “go to” local source of independent information on the parent carer experience. In England there are Parent Carer Forums in almost all local authority areas including the London Borough of Sutton where the Forum has been established for nearly 20 years. Sutton Parent Carer Forum is a member of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF)to ensure that our voices are heard at a local, regional and national level. Forums have a Steering Group of parent carers who lead this work and listen to the views and experiences of other parents in the local area to make sure they know what is important to them; they are keen to hear from as many parent carers as possible and are all pan disability groups.
About the Sutton Parent Carer Forum (SPCF)
This is run by the Steering Group who are all parent/carers themselves of children and young people with SEND who live in Sutton. We are passionate about, and committed to, improving services including health, leisure, social care and education for children and young people with SEND. We do this by arranging events, focus groups, workshops and surgeries as well as by conducting surveys and meeting with parents and carers on individual issues. Sutton Parent Carer Forum do not have a joining system as such, all parent carers of children and young people with additional needs are welcome to engage in all events and feedback their views and experiences. We work actively with other stakeholders including Sutton Mencap, Playwise and local support groups. The Steering Group promote all events and workshops via social media and partner organisations to try to reach as many parent/carers as possible. We have seats on the local area decision making Boards across health, education and social care to ensure we are able to represent the families we have engaged with to highlight where local services, processes and commissioners are working well, or challenge when changes or improvements need to be made.
The Boards we attend include the CAMHS Partnership Board, Safeguarding Board and Sutton Continuous Improvement Programme Board.
We work with the local area to arrange exclusive disability sessions including in local leisure centres and we run Play and Stay in the school holidays.
The Steering Group members are always happy to provide support to other parent/carers.