18 October 2010

Families with disabled children now have access a one-stop-shop of information about the support that is available to them.

Northamptonshire County Council and NHS Northamptonshire have created a single point of contact after listening to concerns that families needed to communicate with various agencies to obtain information and advice.

The county council’s Families Information Service can now offer advice to families with disabled children as part of the national Aiming High for Disabled Children strategy.

NHS Northamptonshire’s Associate Director for Children and Young People, Lesley-Anne Hamilton, said: “Ensuring a single point of access to all sources of support is a direct response to what local people told us they needed. Now, instead of having to seek information separately for each service they need, families can get all the advice they require in one place.”

Councillor Andrew Grant, County Council Cabinet Member for children and young people, said: “The Families Information Service is now a single source of advice for all, including those with disabled children. The change aims to make it easier to access the range of information available about council services and activities for children and young people across Northamptonshire.”

Service user, Karen Sandall, who’s son Oscar has down syndrome and hearing loss, was involved in process. She said: “Having been thrown into a whole new world when my son was born, I felt there was a huge information mountain to climb and that I would never do it in time to know all that I needed to know for his sake.

“It was such a relief to find that this would all be simplified by contacting the Families Information Service, a one-stop-shop, and talking with a person who could guide us as a family. This is a simple message that I wanted to make sure as many families could grasp as possible, so I got involved in the development of the leaflet, seeking to cut through the specialist language and assumed knowledge of professionals in the disability field.

“I hope that’s been achieved and many families will get the timely support and help they need and is there for them to access.”

For more information please contact Northamptonshire County Council’s Families Information Service on 01604 237 935 or via e-mail on fis@northamptonshire.gov.uk