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Support to families with disabled children and young people

Services to help disabled children (0 - 25) and their parents with their social care needs

Local Offer Oxfordshire

Help available to all

Childcare (birth – 17 years)

For help in finding suitable childcare to meet the needs of your child and family see childcare choices for parents of disabled children.


The Family Information Directory has information about leisure activities for disabled children and young people.

Short Breaks (5 -17 years)

Short Breaks provide opportunities for disabled children (5 to 17 years) to have fun away from their families and can give parents a break from caring responsibilities too. Short Breaks include open access and specialist provision. This page also has the Short Breaks Statement (pdf format, 1.4 Mb) which has information on open access services working with disabled children and specialist short breaks.

Support for joining in

The criteria and information on the Early Years Inclusion Support Scheme, Inclusion Support Scheme (Short Breaks), Short Breaks Transport Scheme and the Short Breaks Enabler Support Scheme are all available on the funding section of the Short Breaks for Disabled Children web page.

Early Years Inclusion Support Scheme

The Early Years Inclusion Support Scheme can provide short term funding to help a disabled child (aged under five) to take part in play, childcare or leisure activities within mainstream settings.

Inclusion Support Scheme (Short Break) funding and Short Break Transport Scheme

Inclusion Support Scheme (short breaks) and the Short Breaks Transport Scheme may be available if you need help paying for transport, fees or extra support to access activities. Funding can only be accessed by families on low income/benefits with disabled children aged 5-17 years. The priority for this scheme is to support access to out-of-school activities and/or holiday activities.

Short Break Enabler Support Scheme

The Enabler Support Scheme is to promote inclusion and remove the barriers to play, childcare and leisure for disabled children and young people.

Provision that is inclusive of all children will have priority particularly when they are requesting:

  • support for children and young people to attend more local mainstream settings
  • support for teenagers in preparing to move into adulthood
  • support for Early Years children
  • support for working families to access childcare for children and young people
  • any other enabler situation that meets the criteria. 

Disability Access Fund

Providers offering 3 and 4-year-old children early education funding can claim Disability Access Funding (DAF) to support disabled children to access the free entitlement.

3 and 4-year-olds will be eligible for the DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance and
  • the child receives free early education

Please note that four-year-olds in primary school reception classes are not eligible for DAF funding.

To be eligible for DAF, the child must be named on the DLA award letter and receive early education (children whose siblings attract DLA but don’t themselves would not be eligible). The DAF funding is a non-transferable lump sum payment of c£800 per year and the parent must nominate which provider will receive the funding.

The provider needs to tick the DAF box on their online 3 & 4-year-old funding claim form and send a copy of the Disability Living Allowance award letter to the Early Education Funding Team at earlyeducation@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Support for parent carers

Max Card - discount scheme

The Max Card is a discount card for families of disabled children and children with additional needs. Families simply show their Max Card upon entry to a venue  to obtain free or discounted admission.

It is designed to help families save money on great days out at castles, zoos, bowling alleys and lots more.

The Max card is free to families in Oxfordshire -  it has been funded by Oxfordshire County Council working in partnership with Action for Carers Oxfordshire.

To register, please go to the Carers Oxfordshire webpage.

Please visit www.mymaxcard.co.uk, where you can see a full break down of available attractions in Oxfordshire and across the country.

Oxfordshire Parent Carer Forum

Oxfordshire Parent Carer Forum is a forum for parents of disabled children and those with SEN and additional needs in Oxfordshire.

They consult and gather views from parents and carers, groups and individuals, on the services available to children and young people with SEN and/or disabilities and their families.

This information is shared with us and other agencies to help them design and deliver services that meet local needs.

Some groups and forums offer support to parents of children with a specific difficulty or diagnosis, such as OASIS for parents of children with autistic spectrum conditions.

Others provide support to parents whose children may have a variety of special educational needs or disabilities, such as SHIFT and SPACE. They give parents and carers support and the opportunity to talk through the day-to-day demands of being a parent of a child with additional needs.

The Family Information Service

The Oxfordshire Family Information Service (FIS) also provides details of local support groups. Contact FIS.

Particular help when there are problems

The Sensory Impairment Team

The Sensory Impairment Team works with Oxfordshire children who have a hearing loss, visual loss or both. Teams offer a wide range of support including social work, habilitation, mobility training, adaptive equipment assessments, information and advice.

Integrated Children’s Services

Integrated Children’s Services provide support to parents and carers through the new Family Solutions Service (FSS) which is based in and delivering services from Children and Family Centres.   

There are additional centres operating in the community.

Oxfordshire’s Short Breaks Statement

The Short Breaks Statement (pdf format, 1.4 Mb) contains information on what short break support is being provided in Oxfordshire and what short breaks are available that could work for your child.

Children's social care

Referrals for support for children's social care from parents or members of the public are managed by the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub). This multi-agency hub of social care, health and police shares information to make sure children and families receive the most appropriate support.

The MASH team may signpost to other sources of support; it will also decide which social work team should assess the child and family circumstances. After this assessment, longer term support may be provided by a different social work team.

Referrals can be made by parents by contacting MASH on 0345 050 7666.

Professionals who are working with families should have completed an Early Help Assessment and should be working with the families using a Team around the Family approach.

If the professional feels more help is needed they can refer to the Locality and Community Support Service (LCSS) and will ask the parent's permission to do this. 

Children and family centres

Children and family centres support vulnerable families. Staff will work closely with partner agencies to provide a range of services such as stay, play and learn; youth sessions, parenting programmes, support to families, school readiness, access to education, employment and training.

There are additional centres operating in the community.

Moving into adulthood

  • The Family Information Directory has specific section with information, advice, resources and activities for disabled children and young people moving into adulthood.
  • Check the Moving into Adulthood with information about lots of things to think about as young people move into adulthood.

Adult social care services

To help you to take control of your care and support as you move into adulthood look at our adult social care pages for information and advice.

There’s help on our working and learning page for disabled adults to get and keep a job, become a volunteer or train or learn.

Parents and carers of disabled children and young people can also need support. Carers Oxfordshire has detailed information about the carer’s assessment, rights, benefits, grants and breaks.

Help and information

Search on the Family Information Service website for organisations and groups that support parents and carers of disabled children and young people and those with SEN and additional needs.

Impartial free advice and support - education

The special educational needs and disability information advice and support service (SENDIASS) offers impartial information, advice and support to parents of children and young people with SEN and disabilities regarding their education. You can get in touch by completing this online form.

The service aims to help parents, carers, young people and educational professionals to work together to provide the best possible support to children and young people with special educational needs, by:

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