Children With Disabilities Team


Short Breaks Procedure

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. 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 or the case may be joint worked.

2. Referral Process

2.1 Where a Contact is received by the MASH (Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub) and it appears that the criteria for the Children with Disabilities Team are met, the Children with Disabilities Team will action the Referral and Assessment. Where there are Child Protection concerns, see Section 4, Child Protection Cases.

3. Assessment Process

3.1 All children who meet the criteria for the Children with Disabilities Team 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.

Additional specialist assessments will be requested as necessary from:

  • The Occupational Therapy Team;
  • The Sensory Impairment Team.
3.5 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.
3.6 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 Team) where the primary concern is child protection, the Single Assessment will be carried out by the Children with Disabilities Team, or where there are non-disabled siblings, jointly by the Children with Disabilities Team and the Assessment Team. (a discussion will take place between the relevant team managers within the Referral and Assessment Service and the Children with Disabilities Team as to which will hold responsibility for the case). Where the Assessment Team retain responsibility for the child's case, appropriate advice will be provided by the CWD Team relating to issues arising from any disability. The assessment process and any instigation of Child Protection procedures will be the responsibility of the Children with Disabilities Team where they have case responsibility.


The Children with Disabilities Team will undertake all Section 47 Enquiries, assessments and legal proceedings in respect of children who are open cases.


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 Assessment Teams 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 promoting integration within the local community.

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 that are required to meet the child's needs. (Equipment is within the remit of the OT Team, not CWD).

(All provided through the OT Team not CWD).

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 Procedure.

When services to meet unmet needs 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.

7. Disability Register

The Disability Register holds information about children with disabilities and is a legal requirement for all local authorities. It is administered by the Family Information Service.

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 disabilities 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 Child in Need meeting/Review is usually conducted by the allocated worker and includes all those involved in the plan including the child where appropriate and their parent/carers. The minutes of the Child in Need meeting are subject to approval by the Team Manager. 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 Meetings and the Child in Need Plan Procedure.

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