Special needs social workers and family support workers
If you've got a child with special needs, there are professionals out there whose job is to support you and help you get the services you're entitled to.
Social workers are employed by the social services department of your local council and work with service users – ie people who use local services. This includes families whose children have special needs. The social worker should help to plan your child's care and make sure you get all the help and services that you need.
Your social worker is often the person who can secure services that will make a big difference to your quality of life – such as respite or Direct Payments - so make sure that they understand your family's situation.
It's your job to ensure your social worker has a full understanding of your lives, so that they can help plan to ensure that you have the right care and access to services – before you all go bananas.
A Family Support Worker (FSW) is employed by local social services and helps families with support needs – including families with children with special needs. You may be referred to an FSW by your social worker. The FSW should help to plan the type of support you require, and offer support to improve your family's ability to manage day-to-day life.
"Our Family Support Worker plays with my son. Their idea is that this then gives me time to clean. In reality, I've always been kept busy by my daughter, but I wouldn't clean anyway - many more useful things to do, sleep topping the list at the moment. We get one hour. She is very nice and experienced though." yomellamoHelly
Mumsnet Talk special needs forums
"I used to be a Family Support Worker. FSWs often get mistaken for social workers but they're not. They are there to work closely with a family on a specific issue - they usually see the family weekly and build up a relationship with them over time. I'd see some families at home, some at the centre and others I would meet elsewhere. I'd also do work with whole families and one-to-one with parents or children." BettySpaghetti
Home Start supports any family in need, as long as they have a child under five. You will be matched with a volunteer who will visit your house for a couple of hours a week and offer emotional and practical help.
"Home Start can be a really good help, they offer support and advice in the family's own home." squonk
"Home Start varies from area to area, but locally they provide fantastic support for families with pre school children with SN." anonandlikeit
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