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5.2 Children with Disabilities Service


  1. Criteria
  2. Referral Process
  3. Assessment Process
  4. Child Protection Cases
  5. Services to Children with Disability
  6. Services to Carers
  7. Disability Register
  8. Reviews

1. Criteria

The criteria for the Children with Disabilities Team establishes the threshold at which a referral in relation to a child with a disability will be accepted on the basis that the child requires a specialist social care service.

Where a child has disabilities which appear to meet the criteria and particularly call for specialist intervention, these cases will be referred to the Children with Disabilities Team.

The criteria are that the child must have a permanent or long lasting disability (diagnosed by a doctor or consultant) and be severely or profoundly impaired and that the disability impacts upon their daily functioning. Consideration will also be given to other children who have a significant number of moderate impairments.

The criteria do not include children diagnosed with ADHD or HIV or a psychiatric illness.

Any children diagnosed with ADHD or HIV or a psychiatric illness will only be eligible for referral to the Children with Disabilities Team, therefore, if they also have other disabilities which meet the criteria.

Where mainstream social workers hold cases of children who might be considered to be disabled, appropriate advice and support can be made available from the specialist Children with Disabilities Team.

2. Referral Process

Where a referral is received and it appears that the criteria for the Children with Disabilities Team are met, consultation will take place and advice sought as to whether the criteria for transferring the case are met. Where there are child protection concerns, see Section 4, Child Protection Cases.

Where there is a dispute, the matter should be discussed between the relevant team managers with a view to resolution.

Where the dispute remains unresolved, the matter should be referred to the Group Managers with a view to resolution.

Where a disabled child is receiving a service or should be referred for a service, provision of services should not  delayed waiting for any assessments to be completed. This includes the Specialist Support Service.

3. Assessment Process

All children who meet the criteria for the Children with Disabilities Team will receive a Child and Young Person Assessment of their need for services.

The C&YP Assessment will be carried out in consultation with the family, using information from other professionals as appropriate.

It is the impact the disability has on daily living that is a key part of the assessment.

Additional specialist assessments will be commissioned as necessary from other professionals involved with the child or family, for example:

  • Occupational Therapy;
  • Sensory Impairment;
  • Speech and Language Therapy;
  • Physiotherapy;
  • School or pre-school provision.

The assessment may identify that needs arise due to a child's disability or as a result of a parent's health or disability or a child may be in need of protection from abuse or neglect - see Section 4, Child Protection Cases.

Parents of children with disability and the child (depending of their age and level of understanding) will be given information about the Disability Register - see Section 7, Disability Register.

4. Child Protection Cases

The Children with Disabilities Team will usually undertake all Section 47 Enquiries, assessments and legal proceedings in respect of children who are already open cases, although appropriate consultation will be made with colleagues in the Safeguarding teams regarding practice issues if required.

In cases where there is a child with disability as one of a group of siblings under child protection procedures, joint working will occur between the Children with Disabilities Team and the Safeguarding Team as agreed between the respective team managers.

5. Services to Children with Disability

As a general principle, where children and families can receive mainstream services, these should be provided as a way of minimising the impact of disability and avoiding any unnecessary segregation.

Where the assessment identifies that specialist services are required, these may be provided by health or voluntary agencies as well as the local authority. The assessment will make recommendations as to the kind of services or equipment that are required to meet the child's needs.

Any recommendation for the provision of equipment recommended by the Occupational Therapist requires the approval of the Children with Disabilities Group Manager via the Equipment Panel. If approved, equipment will usually be provided on a long term loan basis. Adaptation work through a Disabilities Facilities Grant can be carried out by referral to the local authority and the family will be given assistance with this.

The support services that may be included in a support package for a disabled child and his/her family range from:

  • The provision of information on activities, clubs, playgroups and play schemes;
  • The provision of advice and information about other organisations which may be able to offer help and support;
  • Support for the child in/outside the home;
  • Day care services such as childminding or nursery;
  • Short breaks such as overnight care or 1:1 support - see Short Breaks Procedure;
  • Support services using direct payments - see the Direct Payments Procedure.

When services have been agreed, they will be incorporated into a Child in Need Plan - or, where the child becomes Looked After, a Care Plan.

6. Services to Carers

Services can also be provided to carers where the child is disabled. Under the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 carers are entitled to an assessment of their own needs. Any such assessment of carers should follow the guidance in the Assessment Framework and be included as an integral part of the Child and Young Person Assessment.

7. Disability Register

The Disability Register holds information about children with disability and is a legal requirement for all local authorities.

Parents are asked whether they wish to supply information about their child for inclusion on the register.

The register is used to plan and develop services for children with disability and also to assist Adult Services with information on future service needs.

8. Reviews

Reviews of Child in Need Plans for children with disability take place within 6 months of the start of the plan and thereafter at least annually. Reviews are conducted more frequently where circumstances require it, e.g. where there has been a significant change in the child's circumstances or with the resource or resources involved. It is usual for a Child in need plan to be reviewed face to face every 12 months with a telephone review being held during the year.

The review is usually conducted by the allocated worker contacting all those involved in the plan. The worker will then prepare a summary of the comments and observations made and present it to the Children with Disabilities Team manager for approval. Where necessary, changes to the Child in Need Plan will be made and the amended plan circulated to all involved as set out in Child in Need Plans and Reviews Procedure.

For reviews of children in receipt of short breaks, see Short Breaks Procedure.