Organisations that can help
You can get lots of helpful and up to date information from the Family Information Service. If you are a mum, dad or carer of a child then you can get free and impartial information about anything to do with family life, for example finding and paying for childcare, what’s on at your local Children’s Centre, free early years places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds, groups and activities, local parenting support, disabilities and additional needs. .
yor-ok.org.uk can also help you find the information you need. It can tell you about services and groups in your area, information about keeping healthy, money, staying safe etc.
Children’s Centres services are available across York, and start from pregnancy until children are age 5. There are nine buildings (see below) – and workers also meet in other community venues and in homes too. Not all services are advertised and some are by referral only (for example your Health Visitor may suggest a referral). For some services you can refer yourself. Services include:
- parenting support and information about what to expect as your child develops
- information and advice to support you and your child’s emotional wellbeing
- play sessions to support your child’s learning and development
- antenatal, midwife and health visitor services
- stop smoking advice
- breastfeeding support
- access to training and employment support
- opportunities to volunteer and give back to your community
The Children’s Centres are based at Hob Moor, Westfield, Carr, Clifton, Haxby Road, New Earswick, Tang Hall (The Avenues), St. Lawrence’s and Knavesmire. To find a Children’s Centre near you call the Family Information Service. You can also look at yorkchildrenscentres.org.uk or Facebook ‘York Children’s Centres’.
Babes in Arms meets on Tuesdays 1.00 – 2.30pm at St Lawrence’s Children’s Centre, Heslington Road. If you are a young mum or dad under 25, why not go along to the group? They run fun sessions for parents with their children, plus offer information and advice, visits from a Health Visitor etc.
Home-Start York is a voluntary organisation that provides practical and emotional support to families with pre-school children. Their volunteer parents can visit you at home to offer friendly support if you are struggling. For example you may be feeling isolated, or suffering postnatal illness, ill health, bereavement, housing or money worries or have several pre-school children, or are just feeling overwhelmed. You can contact them yourself or ask to be referred e.g. by your Health Visitor or a support worker.
Family Lives is a national helpline that can help with family and parenting problems.
Free early years childcare sessions (up to 15 hours per week) are available to all parents of 3 and 4 year olds using a registered childminder, nursery or pre-school playgroup. More information at yor-ok.org.uk/childcare. There are also 15 hours free childcare available for some parents of 2 year olds. Ring the Family Information Service or look at yor-ok.org.uk/childcare for information about who is entitled.
If you feel you are struggling to manage as a parent, ask for help before things get to crisis point. If you already have a worker supporting you or your child, you can speak to them to ask for some help. Otherwise you can ring the Children’s Front Door. This will either put you through to the Family Information Service (see here for information) or you can speak direct to a social worker. The social worker can talk things through with you and may help you find your own solutions. They may ask for your consent to speak to other agencies like school and health professionals or the Children’s Advice Team. They’ll work out who is best to make a ‘family early help assessment’ with you. If they and you feel you need more support, they might recommend that a social worker makes a more detailed assessment to look at what help your family needs and who will provide this.