View the Medway SCB Procedures
View the Medway SCB Procedures
View the Medway SCB ProceduresView the Medway SCB Procedures

4.1.1 Children with Disabilities


Short Breaks Procedure


  1. Criteria
  2. Referral Process
  3. Assessment Process
  4. Child Protection Cases
  5. Services to Children with Disability
  6. Services to Carers
  7. Disability Register
  8. 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 social care service.
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.
1.3 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.
1.4 The criteria do not include children diagnosed with ADHD or HIV or a psychiatric illness.
1.5 Any children diagnosed with ADHD or HIV or a psychiatric illness will only be eligible for referral to the Children with Disability Service, therefore, if they also have other disabilities which meet the criteria.
1.6 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 Disability Service.

2. Referral Process

2.1 Where a referrals is received and it appears that the criteria for the Children with Disability Service are met, consultation will take place and advice sought as to whether the criteria for transferring the case are met. Where there are child protection concerns, see Section 4, Child Protection Cases.
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 Longer term: allocated LAC, high level, medical needs children or families with complex circumstances, receive a Single Integrated Assessment from a qualified social worker.
3.2 All assessments 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 commissioned as necessary from:

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Sensory Impairment
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 a 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

4.1 With new referrals (i.e. where the case is not open to the CWD Service) where the primary concern is child protection, following the Single Integrated 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 Disability 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.
4.2 The Children's Disability Service do not undertake Section 47 Enquires although they do take responsibility for Single Integrated Assessments in such circumstances. Where there is a child protection role and in the context of legal proceedings IAT workers take a primary allocation role although both IAT and CWD staff work closely together throughout the proceedings. In respect of children who are already open cases CWD take responsibility for assessment and placement issues whilst IAT take the lead in respect of child protection and legal proceedings although appropriate consultation will be made with colleagues in Referral and Assessment Services regarding practice issues.
4.3 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 Disability and the Referral and Assessment Services 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 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 Children with Disability Service 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 and family-based respite/Link Scheme carers
  • Short breaks providing day or 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.

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 a disability take place in Medway on a 6 monthly basis. 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.

Reviews are convened and chaired by the CWD Team Manager or Senior Practitioner, with the allocated worker, key professionals and family members in attendance. The worker is responsible for preparing and presenting an update report. Minutes are formally taken and then distributed to all relevant parties. These inform the updated Child In Need Plan.

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.