Asking for help

Oxfordshire is a great place to grow up and be successful. But if there are problems in their family, then you may need help to get the best start in life.
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Oxfordshire County Council Children's Services provide help to families that are having difficulties. This can happen because someone has asked for help, like a family member or friend, or for other reasons.

There are lots of different kinds of help available, including case work with individuals and family groups, courses about things like parenting, and drop-in sessions where you can meet other people, find answers to problems and build skills.

There are also special services for people who need help with different kinds of difficulties, like problems with substance misuse (drugs and alcohol), looking after someone at home (Young Carers), and services for young people aged 16-20 who are Not in Employment, Education or training (NEET).

Crucial: We believe that the best start in life requires children and young people to experience a safe and supportive home and school life. If this isn't happening for you, then you can ask for help. Speak to your School Health Nurse, your GP (Doctor) or anyone at your school or Children & Family Centre.

Our obsessions for children and families

We want all children in Oxfordshire to have the best start in life. To do this best, we are concentrating on four obsessions which we think will help children the most.

  1. Increasing school attendance – leading to improved attainment
  2. Helping Early – most effective, least intrusive solutions to problems
  3. Safely reducing the number of looked after children – providing support to enable families to care
  4. Improving the confidence and capability of the whole workforce – to work effectively with families experiencing domestic abuse, parental mental health and drugs and alcohol issue

We want all children to succeed, be safe and be the best they can. We are using these questions to help us see how well we are doing:

  • Does Ofsted think we are providing a good service?
  • Are we delivering value for money and financial sustainability?
  • Are we reducing family breakdown?
  • Are we improving attainment (how well you are doing) and aspirations (you hopes for your future)?

Everyone needs to work together to provide the best help, including people from across the different Councils, local communities, charities and other organisations, frontline staff, and children and families themselves.

Children and families always share and co-design any help provided. This is the principle of "nothing about me, without me". 

How to ask for help

There are all sorts of ways of asking for help. Many people start by talking to Childline, or someone at their school or youth group. Most adults you come into contact through school, health services or leisure will have a duty to tell someone and ask for help if they think you are at risk because of something you have told them.

But you can also ask for help directly.

If you are a child

If you are a child or young person and you are being abused or neglected please contact us on one of the following numbers:

Office hours (8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Thursday, 8.30am – 4pm, Friday): Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub: 0345 050 7666 Outside office hours: Emergency Duty Team: 0800 833 408

If you are a parent or carer

If you feel you are harming your child or are close to doing so please contact us on one of the following numbers:

Office hours (8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Thursday, 8.30am – 4pm, Friday): Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub: 0345 050 7666 Outside office hours: Emergency Duty Team: 0800 833 408

If you are a professional

If there is an immediate risk or a child has suffered immediate harm, then you should contact the MASH as above. But you can also call the Locality Community Support Service to discuss non-urgent concerns, and find information, helplines and ready-to use tools on the Multi-Agency Practitioner Toolkit.  

Instant expert: There is extra support available for young people with special educational needs, learning difficulties or disabilities. Find out more at Special Education Needs : The Local Offer.

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