Disabled Childrens Team
RELATED CHAPTERShort Breaks Procedure
The criteria for the Disabled Children's 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 Disabled Children's Team.
The criteria are that the child must have a permanent and substantial disability (diagnosed by a doctor or consultant) and be severely or profoundly impaired. 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 Disabled Children's 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 Disabled Children's Team.
2. Referral Process
All referrals are initially made to the Children's referral and advice Team, where a referral is received and it appears that the criteria for the Disabled Children's Team are met the case will be passed directly. Where there are child protection concerns, see Section 4, Child Protection Cases.
3. Assessment Process
All children who are referred to the Disabled Children Team will be considered for an assessment and have an allocated social worker.
The most appropriate response to a referral maybe to direct them to other services such as the early intervention project. Where families will be provided with support and guidance and access to community based services. Families may also be directed to the Short Break Self Referral Form.
It is the impact the disability has on daily living that is a key part of the assessment.
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
With new referrals (i.e. where the case is not open to the CWD Service) where the primary concern is child protection, following the Assessment carried out by the Referral and Assessment Service or MASH, a discussion will take place between the relevant team managers within the Referral and Assessment Service and the Disabled Children's Team as to which team will hold responsibility for the case.
The Disabled Children's 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 cases where there is a child with disability as one of a group of siblings under child protection procedures, discussions will take place between manager of the MASH and the Children's Disability Team as to the appropriate allocation of the case.
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 requires the approval of the Disabled Children's Team Manager. 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;
- Short breaks providing overnight care - see Short Breaks Procedure;
- Support services using direct payments - see the Direct Payments Scheme 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 or Short Break 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.
7. Disability Register
The Disability Register holds information about children with disability and is a legal requirement for all local authorities.
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.
Reviews of Child in Need Plans for children with disability take place within 3 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.
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 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 Review Procedure.
For reviews of children in receipt of short breaks, see Short Breaks Procedure.