Parents/carers returning to work


For many parents of disabled children it's very difficult to think about paid employment, particularly if your child needs a lot of care. In this section, we give you information and advice on working and childcare.

If you're thinking about returning to work, or have already gone back, find out about:

  • What support is available if you do go back to work
  • Your rights when you are in work
  • The types of childcare
  • Help you may be able to get with childcare costs

Returning to work

Sometimes parents with disabled children are made to feel like they are 'expected' to stay at home and care for their child. However, with support, some parents do manage to work outside the home.

Research shows that a main problem for parent carers is a lack of information about locally-based services, benefits and employment policies.

If you're looking for work and want to know about the impact on benefits such as carers allowance or tax credits then contact Jobcentre Plus on 0345 604 3719 or visit read this article on carers returning to work for further advice.

The first steps

You have learned a lot of valuable skills as a parent and many of these can be transferred to work. However, if you have been out of paid employment for some time, it can be daunting to think about returning to work.

You may need to update your skills and there are many ways to do this. Some parents start by trying voluntary work, or by going to college part-time. Voluntary Norfolk will be able to tell you about volunteering opportunities in your area.

Contact the National Careers Service for information about courses. 

Schemes to help get back into work

There are a range of schemes and support to help certain groups of people prepare for work and find employment. The schemes are available through Jobcentre Plus. For example, disability employment advisers offer disabled people job-seeking advice and information about local disability friendly employers.  For more information about moving into work visit GOV.UK.

Some schemes are compulsory and others are voluntary. Please contact the helpline if you want advice about how any schemes relate to your benefits.

Finding Childcare

The Norfolk Family Information Service (FIS) provides childcare information, advice and guidance to families, childcare providers and professionals.

They can provide information about the types of childcare available, free childcare funding childcare costs, and also maintain the records of all Ofsted-registered childcare providers in the county – including childminders, out-of-school carers such as breakfast, after-school and holiday clubs, pre-schools and nurseries. These are all listed online on the Norfolk Directory.

If you are still unable to find childcare that meets your needs the Family Information Service can offer additional support.

They can:

  • Take you through all the information available
  • Help you think about widening your choice and location of childcare
  • Tell you about childcare costs and free childcare available
  • Speak to childcare providers on your behalf and introduce you to them

You can contact the team by emailing

You can also speak to your local children’s centre.  

Help you might be able to get with childcare costs

There are a range of financial benefits and support which might be available to you and your family if you return to work. For more information on options to help with childcare costs, you can also visit HMRC’s ‘Help Paying for Childcare’ pages.

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