A parent carer is a parent who cares for a child or young person aged 18 or under, with any additional need. This might also be any adult with parental responsibility such as a grandparent or guardian. Sometimes the needs of the young person are life-long and the challenges being faced develop as the child/young person grows.
Being a parent carer can mean juggling various aspects of your family life.
Our parent carer support team are experienced in understanding the difficulties families face when caring for a child with additional needs, whether those needs be physical, mental or developmental.
Your child does not need to have a formal diagnosis for you to be able to access support. However, we would expect you to have begun the process of getting a referral to a paediatrician, where the need is developmental in nature e.g. Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
We have designed a Parent Carer Guide written in collaboration with our parent carers, after asking them what information they would have found useful before they came to us for support. It features information about what we do and how we can help you, what support is available in schools, diagnosis information, parent carer stories, the importance of supporting siblings who are caring too, how to access benefits and Carer’s Assessments and other useful contacts.
We have also produced some quick guide information sheets about some of the valuable services you can access within your caring role. Support in Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough differs so make sure you look at the relevant information sheet for your area:
Meeting other parent carers
We host a range of groups and workshops tailored to meet the needs of parent carers. Our Parents Together groups offer monthly support to all parent carers who want to meet with those in similar circumstances. See our What’s On page for a full list of workshops, events and groups.
Currently we offer direct support to parent carers with children in St John’s Special School and College in Bedford and we have a monthly drop in at Caudwell Primary School in Bedford which is open to any parent carer.
When your child becomes an adult
Once your child turns 18, most services that support you will change from child to adult services. This can be a challenging time for both the young person and the people who care for them. We can guide you through this as our parent carer support team work alongside our adult support team.
As a parent carer, you may have other children in your household who help you to care. They may need your support in recognising themselves as having caring responsibilities and how this impacts their own childhood. Our young carers team will be able to support them with this.