Children with Disabilities Service
This chapter was updated in March 2018 with a link to the Parent Carer needs assessment.
The threshold for the Children with Disabilities Service establishes the level 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 – Please refer to the SEN and Disability Local Offer.
Where a child has disabilities which appear to meet the threshold, these cases will be referred to the Children with Disabilities Service.
The threshold is informed by the local authority's duties under equality legislation which includes duties to eliminate discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and to encourage participation by disabled people in public life.
The thresholds are that the child must have a permanent/long term or substantial disability and be severely or profoundly impaired.
The threshold does not include children diagnosed with ADHD or a psychiatric illness.
Any children diagnosed with ADHD or a psychiatric illness will only be eligible for referral to the Children with Disabilities Service, therefore, if they also have other disabilities which meet the threshold.
Where mainstream Social Workers hold cases of children who might be considered by them to be disabled, appropriate advice and support can be made available from the specialist Children with Disabilities Service.
2. Referral Process
Where a referral is received and it appears that the threshold for the Children with Disabilities Service are met, consultation will take place and advice sought as to whether the threshold 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 relevant Head of Service with a view to resolution.
3. Assessment Process
All children who meet the threshold for the Children with Disabilities Service will receive an Assessment of their need for services.
The Assessment will be carried out in consultation with the family, using information from other professionals as appropriate.
Additional specialist assessments will be commissioned as necessary.
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 disabilities 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
With new referrals (i.e. where the case is not open to the CWD Service) where the primary concern is child protection, following the Child and Family Assessment carried out by the Referral and Assessment Service, a discussion will take place between the relevant team managers within the Referral and Assessment Service and the Children with Disabilities Service as to which team will hold responsibility for the case. Where the Referral and Assessment Service retain responsibility for the child's case, appropriate advice will be provided by the CWD Service relating to issues arising from any disability. However, the assessment process and any instigation of child protection procedures will remain the responsibility of the Referral and Assessment Service until such time as the case is formally transferred.
The Children with Disabilities Service 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 Referral and Assessment Services regarding practice issues.
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 and the Referral and Assessment Services as agreed between the respective team managers.
5. Services to Children with Disabilities
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 external agencies, health or voluntary organisations 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 requires the approval of the Head of Service for Children with Disability. 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 may be given assistance with this.
The support services that may be included in a support package for a disabled child and his/her family are explained in the Central Bedfordshire Local Offer.
When Short break services have been agreed, they will be incorporated into a Short Break 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. Click here to view Procedures for the completion of a Parent Carer Needs Assessment.
7. Disability Register
The Disability Register holds information about children with disabilities 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 disabilities and also to assist Adult Services with information on future service needs.
Reviews of Child in Need Plans, or Short Break plans where they are in place for children with disability take place within 3 months of the start of the plan and thereafter at least six monthly. 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.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 Disability Manager who will agree the recommendations being progressed to the Child with Disabilities Allocation Panel or the Joint Agency Panel 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.