What Does Parent Participation Mean?
The purpose of parent participation is to enable parents to get involved in service planning and decision making so that services meet the needs of families with disabled children and resources are not wasted on services which parents and families do not take up.
Effective parent participation happens when parents have conversations with and work alongside professionals, in order to design, develop and improve services. This conversation benefits everyone. Working with parents helps professionals to understand what needs to happen to develop services that meet families’ needs.
Working with professionals helps parents understand the complexity involved and the challenges faced by the professionals who have to bring about that change. Working together and sharing knowledge enables parents and professionals to find solutions that work.
There are three essential ingredients for successful parent participation:
Good information (inform)
All parents need timely and relevant information to help them access the services and support they need to care for the disabled children. Yet parent carers often struggle to get this information and to make sense of what is available. The more informed that parents are, the more they will feel confident and able to make appropriate choices for their children and families.
Honest consultation (involve)
Consultation is a step up from simply giving information as it requires a two-way communication. Bromley Parent Voice host regular open meetings and focus groups to seek parents views on how services can be improved. Formal consultations are held when changes to services are planned. As many parents as possible should be informed about proposed changes to a service and invited to give their ideas and raise concerns about the proposals before final decisions are made.
Effective participation (influence)
Parent Representatives inform decision makers about the experiences of parents and to ensure that parents’ views are fed into decisions about services at a strategic level. Through this process parents and professionals reach a common understanding about effective services for disabled children, young people and their families. Parent Representatives represent all parents
Read here the Parent Participation Good Practice Guide