Parent Participation
 
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 and are not wasted on services which parents and families do not take up.

Parent Forums identify problems that are frequently experienced by families and use this information to influence service provision. Parent Forums do not usually help parents with individual problems, but will tell them about organisations who can help e.g. Contact a Family Helpline, parent partnership service, advocacy services.
 
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.
How does participation differ from campaigning and lobbying?

Campaigning and lobbying is different from parent participation.

Campaigning and lobbying helps raise awareness of issues which are not being addressed with key people including politicians, councilors, managers, commissioners and the public. This is carried out to encourage decision makers to address these issues. If parent participation is developed locally there is a mechanism for parents to raise issues with service providers without
having to resort to campaigning and lobbying. If parent participation is working effectively parents will be able to work with professionals to resolve these issues. If parent forums find they are raising issues but being ignored they might need to resort to campaigning and lobbying.

Taken from Contact A Family Website.