Support for families
Families are the most important influence on children in their early years. There's lots of support out there for families with babies and young children.
Children's Centres give help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment. Some centres also provide early learning and full day care for pre-school children. Many of their services are free and they're open to all families with children aged 0 to 5.
Early Help is a service for families to help them to do well, stay safe and resolve problems at the earliest possible opportunity, before they become more serious. They can support you if, for example, you're worried about your child's behaviour, your child refuses to go to school or is being bullied, or if you're struggling to cope or have problems with family finances or relationships. You can ask someone you trust about Early Help. This might be a teacher at your child's school, your health visitor, midwife or someone at your local Children's Centre.
Home-Start parent volunteers offer support, friendship and practical help to other parents with young children aged 0 to 5 in the local community. They recruit and train volunteers who are parents themselves – to visit families with at least one child under five at home to offer informal, friendly and confidential support. You can speak to Home-Start yourself or ask a professional already working with you to refer you – 01322 225100.
Information, Advice and Support Kent (IASK) support families of children and young people aged 0 to 25 with special educational needs or disabilities. They aim to empower parents to make informed choices about their children's education and communicate confidently – Helpline 03000 41 30 00.
Beams support disabled children, young people and their families through family advice, short breaks, the Dragon's Retreat short break unit and advice on Direct Payments – 01322 668501.