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Support for SEND families at home

In Portsmouth  we want every child or young person with SEND  to have the care and support  that they need so that they can  achieve the best possible outcomes.

Support at home is offered through a range of services across Portsmouth city. Some of them are provided by Portsmouth City Council and others by our partners from the wider community.

To view all of the services providing family support visit our information hub.

Early Help Service

The Early Help and Prevention service provides extra practical help with families early on, to stop problems getting worse. They talk with families about the things that are most important to them, what might help and what they can do differently to help them. Click here to find out more

Children’s Disability Service

The Children’s Disability service , formerly known as the Children with Disabilities team, is based within children’s Social Care and Safeguarding service.

The Children’s Disability service is situated within the Locality and Through Care Social Work Teams and the  Locality Early Help Service.

The service aims to provide a high quality service to children and young people with profound disabilities and complex needs between the ages of 0 – 18 years .Click here to visit the Children’s Disability Service page.

Respite Care in Portsmouth

Respite care tries to keep families together by offering children a break, or a regular series of breaks, from a difficult family environment or a problem for which the child needs some support or help.

Short Breaks service

Short breaks provide opportunities for disabled children and young people to access universal/mainstream sessions such as after school clubs, activity groups, clubs and day care settings enabling them to spend time away from their primary carers. This also benefits parents and carers too, by giving them valuable time away from their caring responsibilities.

Private and Voluntary Services

We have a number of private and voluntary services across Portsmouth City who can provide support to families within their own homes. Search our information hub for the full list of help, or here are a few of the most well known services.

Home Start Portsmouth – provides emotional and practical support within the home.

Health Visiting and specialist health visitor – A universal service for all families with a child under 5.

Family Hubs – For families with children up to 19 years. Offer behaviour management surgeries, support to families and groups.

Carers assessment

Parents of disabled children (called parent carers in the legislation), young people and young carers have strengthened rights to an assessment of their needs under the Children and Families Act 2014.

The Children and Families Act amended the Children Act 1989 (sections17ZD, 17ZE12 and 17ZF).

Under it, local authorities must assess parent carers if:

• ‘it appears to the authority that the parent carer may have needs for support’, or they

• ‘receive a request from the parent carer to assess the parent carer’s needs for support.’

Contact have put together an information leaflet on carers assessment which can be read here.

Carers Centre

In Portsmouth City we also have a designated Carers Centre which provides support to all unpaid carers over 18. Click here for more information.

Frequently asked questions

What support can I get at home from Childrens Services in Portsmouth?

All children with disabilities can be defined as ‘Children in Need’ (CA 1989 Section 17) Portsmouth is committed to providing a proportionate and child-centred service which recognises that many families do not want or require a Social Work service simply because they have a disabled child.

Within our Targeted Early Help and Prevention Service, we have 2 Social Work Assistants and Senior Occupational Therapist who provide an ‘Early Help’ service for families of disabled children, and will create a package of support for a family based on an Early Help Assessment and multi-agency plan.

The Children’s Disability Social Work function will be the preferred service where families, in addition to requiring support for their disabled child or young person, require additional support because of issues in relation to family functioning, risk of family breakdown or other complex needs.



How do I make a referral to the Early Help Service?

Parent carers should speak to a professional who is known to them.

The professional can refer the child to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). MASH will look at the information sent to them and if appropriate, the child will then be referred to either the Early Help Service or one of the Social Work Teams. The needs of the child and family will then be assessed.

The pathway for those children with disabilities will require the professional who makes the contact to refer to the threshold document for children with complex needs – pathways to support. The professional making the contact will be expected to complete an Inter-Agency Contact Form (IACF), and a Recommended Support Tool (RST) or Early Help Assessment (EHA). Children with disabilities will follow the same pathway as any other child. However, the children with disabilities threshold document will be used to provide additional support to aid practitioners in their decision making.

My child's behaviour has become quite challenging at home, who can help me with this?

When a child has a neurodevelopmental condition, violent and challenging behaviour is very common. Around one in four of all children with a diagnosis of autism or a learning disability, will develop behaviour which is both violent and challenging, also called VCB. Children with other conditions such as ADHD ( Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity) and PDA ( Pathological Demand Avoidance) can also present with these behaviours.

Challenging behaviours can impact on family life and we have a number of local and national services that can support with this.

In Portsmouth City,  Family Hubs currently run a series of parenting courses. Contact the hubs directly for more information. 

For help in school and at home the Portsmouth Multi-Behaviour Support Service provides a range of interventions which can involve work with the child/young person, parents and carers and professionals. Click here to find out more.

There are also a number of national organisations that also offer advice and support with challenging behaviour at home ( please note that these organisations are not endorsed by PCC and links are for your information only). These include:

Yvonne Newbold – SEND VCB , The Challenging Behaviour Foundation, MENCAPAmbitious about AutismPathological Demand Avoidance Society,

Where can I get help with aids and adaptations around the home?

The Children’s Disability Social Work function provide a paediatric occupational therapy service in order to discharge the council’s duty in relation to adaptations and provision of specialist equipment for disabled children. This work is undertaken alongside, and in partnership with, the community occupational therapy service hosted by Solent Health, which also includes a joint funded OT post.

Follow this link for more information on the Children’s disability social work function  or you can contact the NHS Solent Children’s Therapy Team single point of access service by calling 0300 300 2019 ( Mon-Fri 8am to 6pm)

Where can I find information on parenting courses and groups?

There are Parenting Surgeries in each of the six Family Hubs which are available for families where the behaviour issue is for children over five years old. Appointments can be made by calling your local Family Hub.

There are also a range of discussion groups available which target a specific problem or behaviour issue.

There are topics for parents of children aged 5 – 12:
Dealing with Disobedience
Managing Fighting and Aggression
Developing Good Bedtime Routines
Hassle-Free Shopping

and topics available for parents of children aged 13 – 16:
Coping with Teenagers’ Emotions
Reducing Family Conflict
Getting Teenagers to Cooperate
Survival Skills

These can be booked by calling your local Family Hub.

If I don't agree with a decision made by adult/children's social care service, what can I do?

We would first encourage you to discuss your concerns with a manager to try and resolve these quickly. If this cannot resolve the issues you should contact the Complaints Department, 


Portsmouth SENDIASS

An impartial service providing information, advice and guidance on SEND.

Portsmouth SENDIASS

Portsmouth SEN Team

The Special Educational Needs Team at portsmouth city council are responsible for EHCPs.

Portsmouth SEN Team info
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Portsmouth Parent Voice

Helping parent carers of young people aged 0-25 with additional needs and disabilities to shape and improve local services

Portsmouth Parent Voice

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