Disabled Children's Service


Short Breaks Procedure

See also Derbyshire Local Offer for more information on local services for children with special educational needs and / or disabilities and Specialist and Safeguarding Disabled Children's Service Eligibility Criteria.

1. Criteria

The criteria for the Disabled Children's 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 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 Service.

The Disabled Children's Team will co-ordinate an assessment of need for a child or young person who has a substantial, enduring and permanent physical, visual, hearing or intellectual impairment, and that resulting from this impairment, the child is limited or prevented from undertaking activities appropriate to their daily living.

They will usually have:

  • A significant, permanent and enduring physical disability which leads to dependence on aids and adaptations;
  • A severe/significant global learning disability;
  • A severe and enduring communication disorder;
  • Autism with a severe/significant global development delay;
  • A significant sensory impairment.

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

Where mainstream social workers hold cases of children who might be considered to be disabled, appropriate advice and support is available from the duty workers based in the specialist Disabled Children's Teams.

2. Referral Process

Referrals to Call Derbyshire will be screened and if it appears that the criteria for the Disabled Children's Service are met the referral will be passed to either the North Disabled Children's Team or South Disabled Children's Team.

In relation to safeguarding for disabled children who meet the eligibility criteria for a service, if there are Child Protection concerns the management responsibility for the enquiry will remain with the Disabled Children's Service (see Section 4, Child Protection Cases).

Where a referral has been passed to the Locality Social Work Team and it appears that the criteria for the Disabled Children's Service are met, consultation will take place between the relevant Service Managers and a decision will be made as to which service is most appropriate.

Where there is uncertainty about which service is the most appropriate, the matter should be referred to the relevant Head of Services (Localities) with a view to a resolution.

3. Assessment Process

All children who meet the criteria for the Disabled Children's Service will usually receive a Social Work Single Assessment to help understand their need for services.

The Single 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:

  • Occupational Therapy;
  • Sensory Impairment.

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).

4. Child Protection Cases

In relation to safeguarding for disabled children who meet the eligibility criteria for a service from the Disabled Children's Service, management responsibility of the enquiry will lie with the Disabled Children' Service. The Disabled Children's Team will undertake all Section 47 Enquiries, assessments and legal proceedings in respect of these children.

Where a disabled child who meets the criteria is part of a sibling group, the Disabled Children's Team will undertake Single Assessments for all the children. Following this a decision will be taken as to which is the most appropriate team to support the children further. This decision will be made following a discussion between the Service Managers in the Disabled Children's Team and Locality Team.

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 POT Service Manager. If approved, equipment will usually be provided on a long term loan basis. Adaptation work through a Disabilities Facilities Grant Will be determined following a full POT specialist assessment.

The support service 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 child minding;
  • Short breaks providing overnight care - see Short Breaks Procedure;
  • Support services using direct payments if appropriate - see the Direct Payments Procedure;
  • Support services using an Individual Budget if appropriate.

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 Working Together to Safeguard Children and the Single Assessment (see Single Assessment Process: Overview Procedure).

Carers of disabled children have the right to request an assessment of their own needs. Such a request indicates the need for a Single Assessment. 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.

In certain cases the needs of the carer will be such that they may be eligible for an assessment and provision of services from adult social care. Workers should seek advice from their Service Manager and agreement should be sort from the carer before making a referral. The decision on eligibility criteria lies with adult social care, however, in order to be eligible for an assessment and services from adult social care the carer would usually be expected to have additional needs as the result of having a learning or physical disability, needing some form of mental health support or due to them being considered a vulnerable adult.

7. Reviews

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 If there have been substantial changes it may be appropriate for a full reassessment to be undertaken.

The review is usually conducted by the allocated worker contacting all those involved in the plan. All agencies working with the child need to bring a summary of their involvement and outcomes required to meet the child's needs. The general expectation is for all reviews to be undertaken using a person-centred approach. The worker will then prepare a summary of the comments and observations made and present it to the Disabled Children's Team Service 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.

For reviews of children in care, see Looked After Reviews Procedure.