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Disabled Children's Team (DCT)


Disabled Children Social Work role:

  • To identify the children/young people (0-18 years) to whom  the Disabled Children Team (DCT) Social Workers will provide a specialist intervention/service.
  • To identify where there is a need for an integrated response from specialist education, health and social care.
  • To provide a Social Work function where  the child/young person has a clear identified disability, whether they are born with a disability or become disabled as a result of an illness, accident or injury.

The Social Work role in providing support services:

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.

Assessment and planning in relation to short break provision:

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

  • Short Break provision, for overnight stays, will always need an assessment to be completed by a Social Worker who is able to identify the particular vulnerabilities, including communication needs of the child/young person.
  • A Social Worker will need to be the Primary Worker for all children/young people who receive an overnight short break under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989.
  • The Social Workers in the team also have a Case Management role for Children and Young people who are accommodated by the Local Authority or are subject to a Child Protection Plan: where the need for the specialist intervention is identified as being directly attributable to the child/young person’s disability.
    Where Safeguarding or Child Protection concerns are raised in respect of a child/young person who meets the criteria of the team, the Team Leader will make a decision regarding an appropriate response which may include a Social Worker from the team completing Section 47 (Child Protection) enquiries and follow Telford & Wrekin Safeguarding procedures.
  • A Social Worker will be responsible for Children and Young People with Disabilities who are accommodated by the Local Authority.
  • Social Workers will be responsible for any Legal Proceedings in relation to Children and Young People with Disabilities.

Carer’s assessments – requests for social care occupational therapy assessment:

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’.

The Social Work Team will provide a service for children/young people and their families where the child/young person is within one of the following categories:

  • Children and young people with profound and enduring disabilities, including multiple disabilities and complex health needs.
  • Children and  young people with a life-limiting condition, including children and young people with a chronic illness or life threatening condition where the child/young person’s needs cannot be met by mainstream or other specialist services.
  • Children and young people with a physical or sensory disability who have additional needs directly related to their disability, i.e. where mobility, self-help or communication skills are severely limited or where the nature of the disability is such that the child or young person has health related difficulties.
  • Children and young people who are assessed under the Education Act 1993 and are deemed to have a severe learning disability or global developmental delay, which has a significant and enduring impact on daily functioning. The education provision that the child/young person attends may be an indicator of disability, but should not be considered in isolation to other factors.
  • Children and young people who have additional needs relating to their disabilities, i.e. where the nature of the disability is such that these are associated with challenging behaviour and will need future transitional arrangements to Adult Services.
  • Children with moderate learning disabilities who have significant additional needs directly related to their disability or condition, e.g. sensory impairment, autistic spectrum disorder or severe epilepsy.
  • Children/young people with Dyspraxia, ADHD, OCD and Dyslexia alone or in combination with each other do not generally meet the criteria for Social Work involvement.

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.

  • If the presenting needs of the child/ young person identify significant disability issues, as identified in the criteria, this will lead to a Child & Family assessment being completed by a DCT Social Worker.
  • Where the child clearly does not meet the criteria, the assessment would be signposted to an appropriate service.
  • Referrals through Family Connect.

For any queries or more information about the Disabled Children's Team please contact us on: 01952 567374