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Services for disabled children and their families
If your child is between 0 and 18, and has a diagnosed disability, learning difficulty or life limiting condition you may be able to receive help, advice and support.
How to access services
Families and young people over the age of 16 can self-refer or be referred by another agency that they are in contact with.
The referral should be made to Cheshire East Consultation Service (or call ChECS – 0300 123 5012 option 3), who will discuss the request and make a decision with you as to how the referral should be progressed
In providing help, advice and support, we must be satisfied that the child or young person meets the definition of disability as prescribed within Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 and the Equality Act 2010.
The Children Act 1989
All disabled children are regarded as ‘Children in Need’ (section 17 (10)(c) and (11)):
- A child shall be taken to be in need if he/she; ‘Is Disabled’
- A child is Disabled if he/she is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be described.
The Equality Act 2010 offers a more up to date definition of disability:
- You are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long term’ negative effect on your ability to carry out normal daily activities.
- Substantial means ‘more than minor or trivial’
- Long term means ‘is or will be more than 12 months
When we receive a referral we need to have information that confirms details about the child or young person’s disability. This may be a recent medical report or a letter from medical consultants who are responsible for health care.
Once we have this information and are satisfied that the child or young person meets the definition of Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, we will complete an assessment to ascertain the child or young person’s needs. This will enable us to make recommendations on support and help for the child or young person and the family.
Assessments are offered in two ways, either through the Early Help assessment which is completed by a Family Support Worker from one of your local Children / Family Centres or via the ‘National Assessment Framework for Children in Need and their Families’ (Children & Families Combined Assessment) completed by a social worker from your local area team or the Children with Disabilities Team.
You have the right to request that the assessment is completed by a social worker, however ChECS will determine which social work team completes it (all referrals that have safeguarding concerns / assessments will always be completed by a social worker).
What we do
We provide a professional source of help, advice and support to families with a disabled child(ren) by:
- assessing the needs of the children and the carers
- providing information and advice on a range of issues
- giving time-limited and on-going support through family support and social work services
- helping families to access local and national services
- liaise with other agencies, such as education and health
In providing time-limited and on-going support we develop ‘care plans’ and ‘support packages’ (this would be included within your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan, if they have one) that may include:
- support within the family home
- support outside of the family home
- short break support via one of our ‘specialist home based foster carers’
- short break support from one of our commissioned short break providers
- some support may be able to be accessed via a direct payment
- A guidance document (PDF, 275KB) is available about the provision of social care advice as part of the Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment process. General information about the EHC needs assessment process can be found on the Education, Health and Care Assessments and Plans webpage