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Parents FAQ

What is Portage?

Portage is a home visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families.

What will it entail?

Portage will offer a framework of support with regular home visits, generally weekly or fortnightly, by a trained Portage Home Visitor. Parents share with the home visitor their understanding of their child’s individual gifts, abilities and support needs. Profiles or developmental checklists may help with this process of identifying strengths and goals for future learning when Portage visits begin.

How long will it happen for?

This will depend on each individual Service and you would need to find this out from your local Service.

Can I approach my local Portage service directly or should I be referred by another authority?

There should be no reason why you could not approach your local Portage service directly.

Will there be any financial cost to me for utilising the Portage service?

There should be no cost to you at all to receive Portage visits.

What will my Portage worker actually do?

The aim of each home visit is to decide on an activity which the family can practice and enjoy together. The activities are based on play, grounded in everyday situations to provide fun and success for the child.

How will we decide on what to work towards?

Parents share with the home visitor their understanding of their child’s individual gifts, abilities and support needs. Profiles or developmental checklists may help with this process of identifying strengths and goals for future learning when Portage visits begin.

At what age will my child stop receiving Portage?

This would depend on each individual service and you would need to find this our from your local service.

Why is it called Portage?

Portage is named after the town of Portage in Wisconsin, USA. It was developed there as a way of supporting parents in helping their children in their own homes. The idea of taking the service to the family homes was tried there because in that rural area parents found it difficult to get to centre-based services.

How long has Portage been operating in the UK?

Portage was introduced into the UK in about 1975. There are currently around 140 registered services.

Is there a Portage Service near me?

Look in Find Your Nearest Service to find a list of services meeting the criteria to achieve registration with the National Portage Association.

How old will my child need to be to start Portage?

Portage supports families from the time that the additional needs are first apparent – this can be soon after birth or at any time in the pre-school period.
Does pre school/nursery attendance affect my child’s ability to receive Portage?
This will depend on each individual Service and you would need to find this out from your local Service.

What is the Forum, and how do I join?

The forum is an online bulletin board facility we offer to allow parents and professionals alike to discuss portage related topics with one another. To use the forum, you need to register first. After having clicked the forum link from the Portage site, just click register and follow the on screen instructions. Please be aware that our moderator has to approve all bulletin requests so there can be a short delay before set is completed for you.
How do I become a Home Visitor?
All Home Visitors working in registered services must have completed a Portage Basic Workshop run by a trainer accredited with the NPA. Ask your local service about training opportunities or look in our Training pages.