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4.1.1 Children's Disability Service


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

1. Criteria

1.1 The criteria for the Children with Disability Service 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 Specialist Services.
1.2 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 Disability Service.

Children with Disabilities Social Work Team Criteria

The services provided are to support children in need and their families who have severe or substantial disabilities, specifically:

  • A severe or profound learning disability (for children of school age this will be supported by a Statement of Educational Need);
  • A severe physical disability;
  • A substantial degree of visual impairment/ moderate and severe hearing loss;
  • A complex Autistic Spectrum disorder with severe learning difficulty (A diagnosis of Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder does not of itself meet the criteria for the service);
  • A complex medical health condition (For the youngest children with complex health needs or technological dependence there will usually be involvement from the Continuing Care Co-ordinator).

The service works to the definition of disability defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 - a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial or long term effect on a person’s ability to carry out day to day activities.

1.4 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 Service.

2. Referral Process

2.1 Where a referral is received at Integrated Front Door (IFD) and it appears that the criteria for the Children with Disability Service are met the referral is launched to the Children With Disabilities Team. If it is unclear whether the criteria are met then consultation will take place between Integrated Front Door (IFD) and the Children with Disabilities Team.
2.2 Where there is a dispute, the matter should be discussed between the relevant team managers with a view to resolution.
2.3 Where the dispute remains unresolved, the matter should be referred to the Service Managers with a view to resolution.

3. Assessment Process

3.1 All children who meet the criteria for the Children with Disability Service will receive a Single Assessment of their need for services.
3.2 The Single Assessment will be carried out in consultation with the family, using information from other professionals as appropriate.
3.3 It is the impact the disability has on daily living that is a key part of the assessment.
3.4 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.

4. Child Protection Cases

4.1 With new referrals (i.e. where the case is not open to the Children With Disabilities Service) and the children with disabilities criteria apply, the referral should be launched to the Children with Disabilities Team.
4.2 The Children with Disability Service undertake all Section 47 Enquiries, assessments and legal proceedings in respect of children who are already open cases and any siblings, as appropriate.

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. A number of services are available to children with a wide range of disabilities and can be accessed without an assessment. Information on these services (add link to short break service statement on Wirral Website and yellow book),

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;
  • Short breaks providing overnight care - see Short Breaks (Overnight) Procedure;
  • Support services using direct payments or personal budget - 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

Parents of disabled children have the right to request an assessment of their own needs. Such a request indicates the need for an Initial and possibly Single Assessment. The needs of the parents can be recorded under the dimension of family functioning of the Assessment Framework. While there has to be a discrete focus on the needs of the carer the outcome of this assessment should be integrated with the broader assessment of the disabled child and family. Carers' assessments should not be conducted in isolation.

7. Reviews

Reviews of Child in Need Plans for children with disability take place at a frequency that is proportionate to the degree of complexity of the case. Generally reviews will be held six monthly but are held annually for lower level packages of support.

The review is usually conducted by the allocated worker contacting all those involved in the plan. Where necessary, changes to the Child In Need Plan will be made and the amended plan circulated to all involved.

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