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Social Work Assessment for short breaks

Telford & Wrekin provide specialist services for disabled children which are delivered by the Disabled Children Team (DCT) Social Work Team and Inclusion Support Team.

The Social Work Team assesses and provides services for children/young people with Disabilities and their families aged 0-18 where there are:

  • child protection concerns
  • where the child young person is a Child in Care (CIC)
  • complex support needs, relating to their disability
  • when they are undergoing early years multi-disciplinary assessment
  • requests for family support
  • need for assessment to other specialist services including Local Authority occupational therapy
  • need for assessment to support assessment/planning for education health care planning
  • significant changes in circumstances of a child known to the service.

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.

All requests for short breaks will follow the flowchart (below), which may result in the completion of  a Child & Family Assessment (C&F) to determine if additional or specialist support is needed. The need for overnight provision will always need a C&F assessment to be completed. 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.

Determining if the disabled children service is the appropriate service will be through a referral to Family Connect where the DCT Duty Social Worker collating relevant information (below), and discussion with Disabled Children Team Leader.

In addition the team will:

  • provide advice and consultation to other services/teams
  • provide a 'joined up' service through a 'step-up/step-down' approach by close working relationships with Inclusion and Support Team
  • work systemically across agencies and services to ensure that the holistic needs of a child are met by the family having access to a range of support, to promote inclusion and builds on existing family strengths and community provision.

Access to disabled children social work team

Child Protection concerns/Support needs identified - family/agency.
Family Connect

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Child Protection.
Follow CP procedures

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Family Support
Need for parental agreement
to continue

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Proceed only with
parental agreement

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Child known to Children's Specialist Service?


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Information to DCT SW Duty Worker or allocated Worker to progress may result in Information/advice, signposting, new assessment referral for LA occupational Therapy, referral to other agency, follow Child Protection procedures.

No further action.

Duty SW collates information to ascertain if appropriate referral to DCT, see checklist below this chart.

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Information/advice, signposting, assessment referral for LA occupational Therapy, referral to other agency,

No further action.

Diagnosis /condition Possible Indicators YES NO
Children and young people with congenital, profound and enduring disabilities, including multiple disabilities and complex health needs. Attends Bridge School or similar. High rate DLA Care/Mobility. Multi-agency support needed
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/young people with global development impairment. Multi-disciplinary assessment/support needed. Attends Bridge School or similar. High rate DLA Care/Mobility.    
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 significant behavioural needs and will need future transitional arrangements to Adult Services. Attends the Willow Tree provision. Physical/sensory disabilities
Joint assessment with Adult Services.
Children/young people with Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and other physical disabilities that significantly impact on the child's wellbeing. High rate DLA Care/Mobility.
May attend mainstream school. Regular medical appointments.
Multi-agency support needed
Children/young people with acquired, multiple or severe disability.
This may include children & young people with a life-limiting condition, including children and young people with a chronic illness where the child/young person's needs require a co-ordinated multi-agency, specialist  response to access education/social activities
High rate DLA  Care/Mobility.
May attend mainstream school. Regular medical appointments.
May require short term or permanent involvement from DCT.
Children and young people with a physical or severe sensory impairments 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 High rate DLA Care/Mobility.
May attend mainstream school. Regular medical appointments.
Access additional support through Sensory Inclusion Service
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 diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) /Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) where the condition has a profound and enduring impact on their day-to-day living. The 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. Attends Special School, Severe or moderate learning disabilities. High rate DLA/mobility.    
Children/young people with significant health /medical conditions which are not effectively managed by medication and require multiple health assessment/interventions. Significant impact on day to day living.    

The Disabled Children Team, Social Work Team and Inclusion & Support may provide advice/consultation to other services, and in some cases co-work, but not assume a Lead professional role.

Disabled Children Team is not the appropriate service for children/young people when

Children/young people whose main issue focuses around their emotional/behavioural development or whose main need for support is connected to a mental health problem, for example some children/young people who have Asperger's syndrome, atypical, mild, moderate autism, attachment disorder.  Support is available through their school and therapy services.
Children/young people with specific learning difficulties such as dyscalculia and dyslexia. Or co-ordination difficulties such as dyspraxia  Support is available through their school and therapy services.
Children/young people with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit (Hyperactive) disorder Although DCT do work with some children who have a complex disability where there is co- morbidity with an ADHD condition.

If the above children/young people and their families require Social Work assessment or interventions they will follow the guidelines as determined by the thresholds identified in The Child's Journey.

If the presenting needs of the child/ young person identify significant disability issues, as identified in the criteria, this will lead to a C&F 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.