Disabled Children Team

This chapter should be read in conjunction with Swindon Borough Council Short Breaks Statement, and Policy and Procedure For Case Managed Cases Within The Disabled Childrens Team.


Short Breaks Procedure

Short Breaks at Local Offer Level (Aiming High) Procedure

Direct Payments Procedure


This chapter was updated in August 2016 with a link to the policy and procedure for case management within the Disabled Childrens Team.

1. Criteria

The criteria for the Disabled Children 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 Disabled Children Team.

The criteria are that the child must have a permanent or long lasting disability. Consideration will be given to other children who have a significant number of impairments.

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 Disabled Children Team.

2. Referral Process

Where a referral is received and it appears that the criteria for the Disabled Children Team 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.

Where there is a dispute, the matter should be discussed between the relevant team managers with a view to resolution.

Where the dispute remains unresolved, the matter should be referred to the Service Managers with a view to resolution.

3. Assessment Process

All children who meet the criteria for the Disabled Children Team will receive either an Initial or Core Assessment of their need for services.

The Core 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.

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 - see Section 4, Child Protection Cases.

4. Child Protection Cases

With new referrals (i.e. where the case is not open to the Disabled Children Team) where the primary concern is child protection, following the Initial 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 Disabled Children Team as to which team will hold responsibility for the case.

The Disabled Children Team will usually undertake all Section 47 Enquiries, assessments and legal proceedings in respect of children who are already open cases, although appropriate consultation will be made with colleagues in Referral and Assessment Services regarding practice issues.

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 Disabled Children Team and the Referral and Assessment Service 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.

The support services that may be included in a support package for a disabled child and their 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 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 (see Short Breaks Scheme - The 'Home and Away' Respite Scheme Procedure).

6. Services for 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. 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 it, e.g. where there has been a significant change in the child's circumstances or with the resource or resources involved.

The review is usually conducted by the allocated worker contacting all those involved in the plan. The worker will then prepare a summary of the comments and observations made and present it to the Disabled Children Team 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 Reviews Procedures - to follow.

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