Parent carers

Support to disabled children and their families in Oxfordshire

In Oxfordshire we have a team of social workers and support staff working with disabled children and their families.

We work in partnership with agencies to provide services which:

  • give priority to those most in need
  • support children to live safely in their own families and communities
  • are responsive to their needs, culture and disability
  • ensure they are supported as they grow into adults.

You can find information about families with disabled children on Oxfordshire County Council's website.

Find out what short breaks are available - link to Oxfordshire County Council website.

If you need support

Ask for a family assessment from the care manager or social worker of the person you are caring for, if you do not have a care manager or social worker, contact the Social and Health Care Team for an assessment of your situation:

Address: Social and Health Care Team, PO Box 780, Oxford, OX1 9GX
Tel: 0345 050 7666
Fax: 01865 783111

By making an assessment of your situation, it should be possible to see what help and support you and your family might need, and who could best give that help.

The purpose of an assessment is to draw up a plan of action.

This will identify some of the difficulties that you and your children may be experiencing and will look at how we might work together to help you as a family.

We know that almost all parents want to do their best for their children. By completing the assessment together, we will be able to recognise the strengths you and your family have, as well as your difficulties.

Care at home for disabled children

Bringing up children is exciting and enjoyable but it is also demanding, tiring and stressful - we all need help at times.

For families who are at breaking point, we may be able to offer support and services to your children and you as parents and Carers and we will work alongside others offering you support in your community.

The aim is to support you as a family and prevent any family breakdown.

Direct care services

We may be able to provide direct care for children up to the age of 18 and their families, in their own homes. This can mean:

  • washing, dressing, toileting, feeding
  • taking part in play and leisure activities
  • managing behaviour.

The care is designed to promote the child's independence. We aim to work with parents and children to meet the needs of each individual family. A range of services are provided across Oxfordshire, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Home care

Home care includes support for:

  • Parents of disabled children
  • Children whose parents cannot always cope with caring tasks, perhaps because they have a physical or learning disability, or mental health problems
  • Families who are experiencing difficulties.

Relief to carers

Trained staff can take over the care of a disabled child in their own home, for a set period of time, so their parents can go out or have a break from caring.

Shared care scheme

Shared care schemes provide short-term breaks for children and young people with disabilities.

The scheme aims to provide regular short term breaks by linking children with approved Carers who look after them for short periods of time. This can be from a few hours to a weekend a month.

The children who use the service may have a physical disability, a learning difficulty or sensory impairment. The shared care scheme gives them a chance to make new friends and to widen their experiences by spending time away from home with supportive Carers.

The service is provided to families following an assessment of the young person's needs. The Carers receive full training and a small allowance to cover expenses.

Residential care

Residential and shared care for children and young people up to the age of 18 years who are assessed as having a severe and substantial learning disability. Young residents are encouraged to achieve their potential. The service is provided to families following an assessment of the young person's needs.

Childcare, information and brokerage

The Oxfordshire Family Information Service (OxonFIS) provides dedicated support to families with disabled children, to help find appropriate childcare, play and leisure.

The service will work with families to identify their particular requirements, and act in a brokerage role with providers to find the most appropriate sources of support. To contact OxonFIS call 01865 323332 or email

Behaviour support

This includes direct care by staff who are trained in working with disabled children with complex behavioural needs. It may also involve implementing a behaviour management plan.

Other support available to you in your community

Information and advice

Oxfordshire Family Information Service

The Oxfordshire Family Information Service (OxonFIS) offers parents and Carers’ information on a range of topics such as childcare, early years provision, help with the cost of childcare and activities for children, young people and families.

Parentline Plus - free helpline offering help and information to anyone caring for children. Tel: 0808 800 2222 or 0800 783 6783 for people with hearing or speech impairment.

Childline - free helpline for children/young people to talk to someone about any problems 0800 1111.

    Inclusion Support Scheme

    A scheme that aims to promote inclusion and remove the barriers to play, childcare and leisure for disabled children and young people. It is available for children from birth up to 18 years old with impairments or emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties who would otherwise be prevented from taking part.

    Short-term financial support is available to play, childcare and leisure providers (including childminders), to pay for additional staff hours to support children, fees, equipment or, in some instances, transport up to a maximum of £250 for children under five. For older children and young people there is up to £250 to pay fees and up to £500 to pay for staffing and additional equipment. These amounts are per child/young person per financial year.

    Information and advice to support the inclusion of disabled children is available from Community childcare and play, and for pre-school settings from Early Years Special Educational Needs Inclusion Teachers.

    The scheme cannot give grants retrospectively or give grants directly to parents.

    To apply:

    Contact 01865 323772 or for an application form.

    Support groups

    The following can help you to find out about support groups in your area:

    Oxfordshire Family Information Service

    National Family Parenting Institute

    The Family and Parenting Institute champions families. We draw on research and evidence to influence policy and offer practical solutions to make society more family friendly.

    Information for parents

    Public services information all in one place


    Contact a Family

    We are the only UK-wide charity providing advice, information and support to the parents of all disabled children.


    Afasic is the UK charity representing children and young adults with communication impairments working for their inclusion in society and supporting their parents and Carers.
    Tel: 01993 779184

    Autism Family Support Project

    The Autism Family Support project develops support services for people whose son/daughter/family member has been diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder.

    The Children's Society

    The Children’s Society’s Include Project works with voluntary and statutory services to support children and young people who care for parents or siblings who suffer from chronic illness or disability.



    • 24 hour free and confidential help line for children and young people
    • Tel: 0800 1111
    • Website:

    Oxfordshire Family Support Network

    We recognise the wide range of abilities that come under the umbrella of Learning Disabilities. We aim to promote the involvement of parents & family Carers working in partnership with professionals and voluntary bodies across Oxfordshire to promote the independence of all people with learning disabilities and to improve the quality of life for them and their families.

    Barbara Coles

    Learning and support services (adults)

    Gail Hanrahan

    Learning and Support Services (Children and Young People)

    Carers' Line

    Advice line from the National Carers' Association

    Tel: 0345 573369

    Caring Matters/Carers' UK

    Advice service on legal aspects of care


    Oxfordshire Carers' Forum

    The voice of all Carers in Oxfordshire, consultation with Carers, participation and advice

    • Address: Oxfordshire Carers' Forum, Napier Court, Barton Lane, Abingdon OX14 3YT
    • Tel: 01235 520440
    • Website:

    Princess Royal Trust for Carers

    The Princess Royal Trust for Carers was created on the initiative of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in 1991. At that time people caring at home for family members or friends with disabilities and chronic illnesses were scarcely recognised as requiring support. The trust also acts independently to develop and offer:

    • Research, development and consultation.
    • Influence on national, regional and local policy.
    • Partnerships with other national organisations.
    • Information through our interactive websites, providing advice and access to support groups.


    Please note: The organisations listed on this page are not endorsed or recommended by Oxfordshire County Council and the contact details are provided for information only.

    Please feel free to contact any of the organisations on this fact sheet yourself. If required, Carers Oxfordshire can also help you further. You can contact them on 0345 050 7666, Monday to Thursday 08:30-17:00, Friday 08:30-16:00