Get help for your family
How can I find help myself?
Our Family Information Service can help you with online information such as:
Support for families of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)
Find support on our Local Offer
Information, advice and services to support parents and families of children and young people with SEND.
How can I get help from elsewhere?
Sometimes you may feel you need a bit more help and support. Our Family Partnership Zones can help with this.
Children's Centres and coronavirus
All Dorset Children's Centres are now closed.
We're still available to offer support to you and your family. Contact us through your local Family Partnership Zone.
If you're worried about the immediate safety of a child or young person contact our Children's Advice and Duty Service:
Foodbanks in Dorset
Find your local foodbanks on our Family Information Directory.
Children's Centre nurseries
Our 2 Children's Centre nurseries are open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers only:
Family Partnership Zones
There are 6 Family Partnership Zones across Dorset, which include our Children's Centres. A Family Partnership Zone is a geographical area of Dorset where people come together to help and support children, young people and their families with any aspect of family life.
Young carer activities during the coronavirus emergency
We're here to support you. Let your Young Carers Family Worker know what works best for you, whether it's:
Check the Carer Support Dorset website for information and advice.
Unfortunately we've had to make the decision to cancel all young carer activities at this time, including the Easter holiday events to protect you and your families. We hope you all understand.
Who's involved in a Family Partnership Zone?
Family Partnership Zones are made up of different professionals who want the very best for children, young people and families. They work together in local communities to make sure you get the right help at the right time.
Anyone can play a part in a Family Partnership Zone, for example:
- staff from the local authority (DCC)
- local councillors
- early years settings, for example, childminders, pre-schools and nurseries
- health visitors
- school nurses
- community mental health teams
- child and adolescent mental health teams
- housing officers
- community volunteers
- voluntary and community groups
- fire officers
- leisure centres
- local businesses
- community centres
- youth centres
Most importantly, Family Partnership Zones include children, young people and their parents and carers.
What do these people do in a Family Partnership Zone?
These people work together to help children, young people and their families to be the best that they can be. They work in partnership with each other to understand the local area and plan activities and groups for children, young people and parents or carers. Sometimes, these individuals come together as a Team Around The Family to provide help and support when families need it.
What can Family Partnership Zones help with?
People involved with Family Partnership Zones can provide information, advice and guidance, as well as direct support around anything relating to family life, including:
- staying safe
- keeping healthy
- managing finances
- achieving well in the early years, at school and getting a job
Family Partnership Zones can:
- bring together professionals to help your child, for example, by working with your health visitor, doctor or school teacher
- provide one-to-one family work
- suggest parenting support courses that could help you and your family
- offer help and advice for more complex needs, maybe you’re concerned about your child’s behaviour, or worried about their development or emotional or mental health
- support young people and teenagers through targeted youth work
- link you to local groups that can support you, including activities at your local Children's Centre
- help your child be ready for school
- help you fill out any relevant forms and paperwork
Who are the people from the local authority in a Family Partnership Zone and what do they do?
Our teams support children through 4 main areas of work:
We identify children and families who might need additional help.
We do this by gathering information we already have about children and their families into one place. We then share this information with others who might be able to help. Of course, we talk to families to let them know they're eligible for this help.
By doing this, families get help before a small problem becomes a bigger problem or crisis. We do this regularly to make sure children, young people and their families are made aware of the help they're entitled to.
Information, advice and guidance
We provide information, advice and guidance to families. Our customer service digital advisers (CSDAs) visit toddler groups, libraries, schools, leisure centres and anywhere families may spend time to help people find out about local services and reliable sources of information.
Activity and parenting workers and family workers
Our activity and parenting workers and family workers run groups and activities. We often do this alongside other people and professionals in community venues like church halls, Children's Centres, schools and libraries.
Our family workers provide support to families in your family home. They often work with other professionals or experts to help a family overcome difficulties. They listen to all members of the family to understand what's going well, what's not going so well and what might make a difference. They work with the family to draw up a plan.
Sometimes they help other people to be part of this work or to lead it. They are usually people the family already know, like teachers, housing officers or health visitors.
What kinds of issues can Family Partnership Zones help families with?
We have lots of experience supporting families and work with others who have expertise. Here are some examples of issues we've helped with, but there are many more:
- parents are separating or have separated
- there's historical or current domestic abuse
- parents are finding it difficult to manage their child's behaviour
- children or young people are experiencing problems with their learning
- young people are self-harming or are thinking of self-harming
- a family member uses alcohol or substances
- families are struggling to cope financially
- families don't know where to access information
They will try to make sure there's a single professional that works with your family. This lead professional means you only have to tell your story once and you have one point of contact.
If you think you might need help, contact your local zone:
Map of Family Partnership Zones
See a map of our zones:
Get help for your family if you live in Christchurch
Find out how you can get help for your family in Christchurch.
Dorset Families Matter
Dorset Families Matter is a partnership programme. We set this programme up in 2012 to deliver the government's Troubled Families agenda. Through the programme we aim to support families who experience many complex challenges to help them improve their well-being. This support comes from professionals already working with eligible families.
Whole-family working is central to this. All the principles and ways of working that have been tested out by Dorset Families Matter have now been incorporated into the work of the Family Partnership Zones across Dorset.
Professionals supporting families
Professionals: find out about early help in Dorset.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you're a professional supporting families to find more information.