To provide a consultative role relating to the disability needs of the child/young person, including impact on safeguarding issues, parenting needs and support needs. This consultative role is to support staff within the team, and other agencies who are working with children/young people 0-18 years, who have a diagnosed disability, or are undergoing assessment.
This function is mindful of the duty on the Local Authority:
"To provide an appropriate range and level of services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need" and "so far as is consistent with that duty to promote the upbringing of such children by their families".
The general duty is supported by other specific duties and powers such as "the facilitation of the provision by others, including in particular voluntary organisations or services’ (S.17 (5))."
In these cases the Social Worker or other professional from the Disabled Children’s Team do not necessarily provide Lead Professional or Primary Worker status.
To complete appropriate assessments as required depending on the presenting information; this will include the Social Work role associated with the Child Development Centre.
All children and their families/carers invited to attend the Telford Children’s Development Centre (CDC), which is a multi-disciplinary assessment provision, will have access to one of the Disabled Children’s Team Social Workers while attending the centre. This will support the completion of a multi-disciplinary assessment and service planning, as well as providing access to appropriate information and advice. Involvement with the CDC Social Worker(s) does not necessarily mean ongoing support from the DCT team, unless the child has a clear identified disability; or where there is a need for other multi-disciplinary specialist intervention.
Social Workers from the Disabled Children’s Team may analyse the information provided through Common Assessments (CAF) and other specialist assessments in order to ensure a co-ordinated multi-disciplinary response. They may also attend Team around the Child (TAC) meetings and/or Education Reviews to advise other professionals about accessing appropriate support services. Where appropriate, they will support the co-ordinated assessment and planning processes in relation to Education Health Care Plans (EHCP) and transition into adulthood planning.
Guidance relating to Short Break provision is covered in Statutory Guidance. The Guidance imposes a statutory duty to promote the welfare of children/young people with disabilities, including consideration of the need for short breaks. The guidance identifies the need for appropriate proportional assessment and planning; including consideration of the needs of parents and carers. It may be appropriate for a Child & Family assessment to be completed by a Social Worker to determine if additional or specialist support is needed.
Social Work assessment for Short Breaks
Some families/professionals may specifically request a carer’s assessment, or an assessment to be undertaken by a Local Authority Occupational Therapist.
Where the child meets the criteria for the Social Work Team, an appropriate assessment would be undertaken to determine the appropriate service provision.
Where there is uncertainty or disagreement regarding whether the child meets the criteria outlined above, a joint assessment (this may be a CAF or Child & Family Assessment depending on the presenting issues) could be undertaken between DCT and another appropriate team.
Access to a Specialist Social Work intervention for Disabled Children and their families is through assessment, to determine if the Children and young people aged 0-18 years are ‘ children with disabilities’ , as defined by the Children Act 1989 which defines them as Children in Need (S.17. (10)). The Act defines a child as ‘disabled’ if:-
‘he 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 prescribed’.
Young people diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) /Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) in conjunction with Dyspraxia, ADHD, OCD, Dyslexia would not necessarily meet the criteria; unless the condition has a profound and enduring impact on their day–to–day living. The latter group of children/young people are likely to be diagnosed with Severe Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as they have significant communication, behavioural and social needs and/or a severe learning disability.