All families need a helping hand at some stage of their child's life. Don’t be afraid seek help when you need it.

Whether you're looking for some advice or in need of some one-to-one support there's a service that can help. 

If you can't find what you're looking for, contact the Family Information Service who will be able to point you in the right direction.

Portsmouth has six Family Hubs. Follow the link for contact details and a programme of activities

We want to ensure you are accessing the money you're entitled to, particularly if you're 'feeling the pinch' and struggling to make ends meet. Below, you'll find information on money available to families, who can apply and how to apply.

 

Child Benefit

Child Benefit is a tax-free payment that you can claim for your child. It’s usually paid every four weeks but can sometimes be paid weekly. Claim Child Benefit as soon as possible after your child is born.

 

You get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). If you are responsible for a child, you can normally get Child Benefit for them - even if you're not their parent. There are two separate amounts.

  • £20.70 per week for your eldest (or only) child
  • £13.70 a week for each of your other children

If you’re in a couple, only one of you can claim benefit for the child.

 

If you, or your partner, have an individual income of more than £50,000 a year, and one of you is entitled to get Child Benefit you will be affected by a new tax charge.

 

Follow the link for more information, and details on how to claim child benefit. You will need to post your child’s original birth certificate with the application form.

 

Child Tax Credits (CTC)

Tax Credits are awarded to help eligible families pay for the cost of raising a family. Tax Credits are made up of a number of elements or payments. You could get Child Tax Credit for each child you’re responsible for if they’re:

  • Under 16
  • Under 20 and in approved education or training

You don’t need to be working to claim Child Tax Credit. You get money for each child that qualifies and Child Tax Credit won’t affect your Child Benefit. When you send off your claim form, the information you’ve given will be used to decide which elements you’re entitled to and at what rate.

The amount awarded varies depending on family circumstances and income. Family Information Service can let you know if you're eligible and help you work out how much you might receive. The basic amount is up to £545 a year - this is known as the 'family element'. Depending on your circumstance you may be awarded extra 'elements' on top of this.

 

If you’re already claiming tax credits you don’t need a claim form - just call the helpline to update your claim on 0345 300 3900. If you’re new to tax credits, order a claim form online, or use the online calculator to work out how much you could get.

 

Working Tax Credits (WTC)

WTC is a payment to top up the earnings of people on a lower income whether they have children or not. You could get Working Tax Credit if you’re aged 16 or over, you work a certain number of hours a week and your income is below a certain level.

 

You must be working at least 16 hours per week if you're a lone parent. If you're a couple with children, your joint working hours need to be at least 24 hours per week with one of you working at least 16 hours.

 

How much will I receive? The basic amount of Working Tax Credit is up to £1,950 a year. You could get more (or less) depending on your circumstances and income. You can apply for Working Tax Credits even if you don’t have children or you’re about to start a new job. Eligible families will also be entitled to the Childcare Element of Working Tax Credits (to help pay for registered childcare) - if you’re part of a couple, both of you need to be working to get this one.

 

If you’re already claiming tax credits you don’t need a claim form - just call the helpline to update your claim on 0345 300 3900. If you’re new to tax credits,  order a claim form online, or use the online calculator to work out how much you could get.

 

Income support

Income support is available to families (some without children) on a low income or no income, dependent on your other circumstances.

Most Lone Parents with a child under five will be able to claim. Follow the link for more on who can claim Income support and how to apply.

 

Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)

You can claim JSA if you're in receipt of Income Support - this usually stops once your youngest child reaches five. Follow the link for more on  who can claim JSA and how to apply.

 

Housing Benefit

In addition to the above benefits- you may be entitled to some help toward your rent and/ or council tax. Eligibility is dependent on your income and circumstances. For more information visit the Benefits page

One of the main concerns parents face when returning to work can be 'how will I juggle family life and a job?'

 

This section will talk you through your rights as a working parent and help you to understand what happens when your child is off school sick or your working hours aren’t manageable.

 

Don’t be afraid to make use of your family-friendly rights at work.

 

Preparation and good childcare arrangements will allow you to focus on your job, but you still have the right to time off to deal with certain family matters. It can be hard to be fair to your employer, your family and yourself. 

 

Your rights

  1. You have the right to return to your same job on the same terms and conditions, unless that’s not practical - in that case, you have the right to be offered a similar job on terms and conditions at least as good. If this doesn’t happen, you can claim unfair dismissal.
  2. If your job has become redundant, you should be offered a suitable alternative vacancy. If there is no suitable alternative, you may be entitled to redundancy pay.
  3. You should benefit from any general pay rises or improvements in terms and conditions that apply to your job and occurred while you were on leave.
  4. You build up holiday entitlement while on maternity leave in the same way as if you had been at work.

 

Flexible working requests

Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee's needs, for example being able to work certain hours or work from home.

Anyone can ask their employer to work flexibly, but certain parents have a legal process available to them known as a 'statutory application.'

You can make a statutory application if you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks.

Your employer must seriously consider your request but can turn it down if there are genuine business reasons for doing so. To make a statutory application:

  1. Write to your employer.
  2. The employer should request a meeting within 28 days to discuss the application.
  3. The employer must make a decision within 14 days of the meeting and inform the employee.
  4. If the employer agrees to flexible working they must give the employee a new contract.

 

First, consider which pattern of work would suit you best. For example:

  • Part-time work - this, of course, reduces your pay.
  • Change in hours - for example, flexi-time, staggered hours (8am to 4pm instead of 9am to 5pm) or shorter hours. If you work less, you will be paid less.
  • Compressed hours - working the same hours but to a different pattern, for example 8am to 6pm four days a week instead of 9am to 5pm five days a week.
  • Term-time working - being able to take unpaid leave during school holidays.
  • Working from home - this could be for part of or the whole working week.
  • Job-sharing - splitting your job and pay with someone else.

ACAS provide free information and advice to employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems. If you think you've been treated unfairly contact ACAS or use their online help tool.

The council offers a range of help for parents, including one-to-one advice sessions, workshops and seminars, which you can book directly by contacting your local family hub.

 

Further details on available workshops can be found below.

 

Or there's a programme of evidence-based parenting courses - including Triple P and Incredible Years - to help parents manage their children's behaviour.

 

For more information, email  parenting@portsmouthcc.gov.uk. Please include your full postal address including postcode on any enquiry.

Triple PIncredible YearsFamily Lives and the  Family and Parenting Institute are external organisations offering support to parents.

 

Parenting advice

A two-hour surgery facility held weekly in localities. Offering parents opportunities to raise on going issues and discuss options regarding additional support.

 

Social Toddler Workshop

A 2 hour workshop with crèche delivered in Children's centres across the city. This two-hour workshop is an opportunity to meet other parents and to find out how your toddler sees the world.

 

Incredible Years Babies

A series of six three hour sessions offered in a central location, targeted at Parents with babies up to six months old. To promote positive parenting practices to provide physical and tactile stimulation for babies, and the importance of this for brain development.

 

Triple P seminars

A series of three two-hour sessions offered in each locality targeted at Parents of either primary or secondary school children. Topics include positive parenting, raising confident and competent children, raising resilient children, raising responsible teenagers, raising competent teenagers, and getting teenagers connected.

 

Triple P primary course

Two-and-a-half hour sessions delivered weekly over ten weeks which aim to promote positive parenting practices, including the use of positive attention and praise, strategies to avoid problems in high-risk situations and effective discipline for misbehaviour.

Group sessions include presentations, discussions, practical exercises and individually tailored homework. Suitable for families of children attending primary school.

 

Triple P secondary/teen course

Two-and-a-half hour sessions delivered weekly over 10 weeks which aim to promote positive parenting practices, including: the use of positive attention and praise; strategies to avoid problems in high-risk situations and effective discipline for misbehaviour. Group sessions include presentations, discussions, practical exercises and individually tailored homework. Suitable for families of children attending secondary school.

 

Triple P primary - online

An interactive web-based course, undertaken on home (or library) computer with remote monitoring and one telephone review with a parenting practitioner. The course aims to promote positive parenting practices including: the use of positive attention and praise; strategies to avoid problems in high-risk situations and effective discipline for misbehaviour.

Parents receive log on details and complete relevant self-assessment questionnaires. Suitable for families of children attending primary school.

 

Triple P Discussion Groups

A two and half hour session with crèche, giving opportunities to focus on specific areas of child behaviour.

For children from 2 years to 11 years, topics include:

  • Dealing with disobedience
  • Managing fighting and aggression
  • Developing good bedtime routines
  • Hassle-free shopping with children. 

For older children the focus can be:

  • Getting teenagers to cooperate
  • Coping with teenagers emotions
  • Building teenagers' survival skills
  • Reducing family conflict.

 

Triple P stepping stones course

Triple P Stepping Stones recognises seven key aspects to positive parenting children with disabilities:

Two-and-a-half hour sessions delivered over ten weeks, this evidence-based parenting course aims to promote children’s development and manage children’s behaviour in constructive and non-hurtful ways.  It is based on good communication and positive attention to help children develop and includes:

  • ensuring a safe and interesting environment
  • creating a positive learning environment
  • using assertive discipline; adapting to having a child with a disability
  • having realistic expectations
  • being part of a community.

We're lucky in Portsmouth to have a wealth of groups, clubs and activities to attend. With hundreds of events each year and lots of parks and outside space to enjoy for free, you and your children need never be bored.

 

For information on local groups and activities contact the Family Information Service.

 

Browse Visit Portsmouth for details of events taking place throughout the year.

 

If you've a low income you may be entitled to a free Portsmouth Leisure Card which will give you discounts for a range of facilities and services across the city.

 

Keep an eye out for our holiday activity guides to ensure you don't miss out on the fun while the children are off school. Look for the link on our homepage during the run-up to the end of term.

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