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Children and young people's care and support services

Find out about care and support options for children and young people.

If you're worried about your child's development or wellbeing and you think they need extra support, speak to their GP, health visitor, teacher or nursery worker first.

Ask for advice about what to do next to help your child. If you or your child needs more significant support, contact the children's services team at your local council for a needs assessment.

Needs assessments

A needs assessment is carried out by the children's services team at your local council and determines if your child needs more specialised support.

Children's services must work with you when making decisions about your child, so discuss with them the type of help that would best meet the needs of your family.

Apply for a needs assessment on GOV.UK

Family support

Family support can include help looking after your child, such as:

  • day care for children under 5 years old
  • help with parenting – such as parenting classes
  • courses or family support workers
  • practical home help
  • access to a Children's Centre

Support services may also be provided by education or health authorities, or by voluntary organisations.

Many of these services are available to all families. Check your local council's website to see what's available in your area.

You may also find support from these charities:

Children with special educational needs and disabilities

Additional help is available for parents and children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Looked-after children

Local authority children's services have responsibilities for the children they look after who live with foster carers or in residential care on either a short- or long-term basis.

These organisations also offer information and advice:

The Family Rights Group offers independent specialist information and advice for families about children who are looked after in care.

For more information, read the Family Rights Group's advice sheets about looked-after children.

Child protection

Child protection is available to children and young people who are at risk of significant harm and need protecting. This includes harm from physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and neglect.

If children's services suspect that a child may be at risk of harm, they must look into the child's situation and take any action necessary to keep them safe and promote their welfare.

If child protection enquiries have been made about your child, it does not necessarily mean your child will be taken away from you. But your child will be interviewed or medically examined without you being present.

The Family Rights Group offers independent specialist information and advice for families about child protection procedures.

For more information, read the Family Rights Group's advice sheets about child protection.

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