Family Voice Surrey

Rachael Foley is one of Parental Choice’s superstar recruitment consultants.  She spends her days matching families with the perfect nanny or au pair.  In her spare time, she supports a local charity Family Voice Surrey. 

We asked her why she supports the charity and to give us a bit of background on the work they do:

“I support FVS as my eldest son has ASD and I wanted to be part of an organisation that understands and helps Parents and Carers of SEND children.  I completely empathise with the journey that they are on and want to help as many people as I can and pass on the information that I have gained on my own personal journey to date.”


Family Voice Surrey champions the needs and rights of SEND families in Surrey: families with children or young adults up to the age of 25 who have special educational needs, chronic illnesses, including mental health conditions, or disabilities.

What they do

There are nearly 10,000 children and young people in Surrey with an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) and over 22,000 with SEN. support.  Their needs are many and varied but include children on the SEN register at school (with an EHCP), on SEN support or in the process of early identification.

The role of Parent Carer Forums is recognised in the Children and Families Act 2014, providing a platform for us in Surrey as the official voice of parent carers of children and young people with additional needs.

We gather and represent parent carer views in meetings concerning implementation of SEND legislation and planning and delivery of SEND services, working with representatives from the local authority, local schools, and health. We also build strong relationships with other Surrey-based organisations working in different ways to support children and young people with additional needs.

We work centrally with the local authority to help inform, shape and monitor services for these families, we also engage with them directly to ensure that our representation is broad and up to date.

Recent central projects include:

  • Developing a course to support parents whose children struggle to get to school due to anxiety (due to start January 2020)
  • Hosting annual events to support, train and engage parent carers:
    • “Access and Independence” November 2019
    • “Preparation for Adulthood” April 2019, spring term 2020
  • SEND Transport: getting to school is not always as easy as it seems
  • SEND Strategy: working with Surrey County Council to develop an accessible message. This is an example of our ability to bring together local authority, parent voices and the voluntary sector – all working to the same aim.
  • Working with Surrey County Council and health partners to improve mental health services for our young people.
How can you help?

If you are the parent a child or young person with SEND (up to 25 yrs), please join our mailing list. We’ll keep you up-to-date and (occasionally) ask for your views on topics currently under discussion.

Our ability to influence decisions is directly related to the weight of our voice and membership, so please join our mailing list today. 

If you would like find out more about Family Voice Surrey, or make a donation to support their services please contact them here.

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