Giving your views
The Children’s and Families Act 2014 firmly places the child, young person and their parent carers at the centre of decisions about their support and what they want to achieve. This is important because it helps to raise the aspirations for children and young people, through a focus on life outcomes, including employment and greater independence.
Local authorities must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the child, the child’s parent or young person, their aspirations, the outcomes they wish to seek and the support they need to achieve them. These must all be clearly set out in the EHC plan.
Therefore it is particularly important to capture these wishes and aspirations as soon as possible in the EHC plan process, so that all decisions can be made with these in mind. The Views and Wishes Form can be used to record this information.
There are also several tools which parent carers can use with their child or young person to help develop this information:
- One page profile - a simple summary of what is important to someone and how they want to be supported
- Relationship map – help families think about the people who are involved in all areas of the child’s, young person’s life
- What’s working, what’s not working tool – as families think about what the child, young person would like to do in the future, it might help to think about what is working and should be kept and what is not working and needs to be changed
- Decision making tool – in two parts: a decision making profile and a decision making agreement. Together, these help families work with the child / young person to support them to make decisions and record how these decisions will be made.
The local authority will help support and encourage children, young people and parent carers to be involved in the Education, Health and Care needs assessment and plan development process by:
- Giving information in accessible formats
- Being clear about the purpose of meetings
- Allowing everyone time to prepare for discussions and meetings
- Dedicating time in discussions and meetings to hear everyone’s views
Some children and young people may also require support from someone (an advocate - this could be a family member or a professional) to ensure that their views are heard and acknowledged.
Children and young people may need support in expressing views about:
- Their education
- Their health
- The future and how they would like to prepare for it
- Where they would like to live
- Control of their finances
- How they would like to be part of the community and
- How they will achieve greater independence.
For children and young people who need or would like this support, the local authority will ensure this is available.