If you are a parent or guardian who looks after a child with disabilities, a long-term health condition, or learning difficulties, there are ways to get support for you and your family.
The Essex County Council website has information about short breaks for parents of disabled children.
Assessment under the Children's Act
The assessment will consider all the help that the disabled child needs, the needs of any other children in the family, and the help that you may need to care for the disabled child. The assessment will allow the Council to make decisions about the support they can provide for you and your family.
For further information, contact the Early Help & Advice Hub at Essex County Council on 0345 603 7627 or 0345 603 7634.
A separate Carer's Assessment
In most cases, you will not need to have a separate carer's assessment if you and your family have had a needs assessment. However, if you are a parent carer of a disabled child under 18, you have a right to a separate carer's assessment of your own if the assessment for the child under the Children Act does not fully meet all of your needs. If you feel that you would like an additional carer's assessment, or want to know about local support available for carers, then contact the Early Help & Advice Hub at Essex County Council on 0345 603 7627 or 0345 603 7634.
Other information and advice
The GOV.UK website provides more information on getting help if you have a disabled child.
The NHS Choices website provides contains tips on caring for a disabled child.
The Working Families website has some useful information about looking after a disabled child. There is advice about finding childcare, and a free regular newsletter named 'Waving not Drowning'.
The NHS has partnered with Public Health England, Carers UK, Carers Trust, and Age UK, to produce a guide for carers called A Practical Guide to Healthy Caring. This guide is for anyone looking after a family member or friend, or who has some kind of caring responsibility. It covers a wide range of subjects from what it's like to care for someone, to assessments, getting help, and useful technology.
The Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) has some useful resources for carers, and provides free courses across Essex which help carers manage their caring role. For further information visit the Support for Carers page on the EPUT website.
Essex Libraries offer a variety of services and activities that may benefit carers. If you find it difficult to get to the library, you could receive the Home Library Service, or ask about a Friends and Family card. Alternatively, access e-books, e-audio, e-magazines and online resources at a time to suit you, from wherever you are. Many libraries hold regular drop-in sessions, advice desks and social activities; have a look at the events list for the latest information. Libraries also have booklists that you might find useful if you are caring for someone with dementia, mental health problems or long-term conditions.