Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual

3.8.1 Children's Disability Service


Short Breaks - Threshold and Access Criteria Procedure


This chapter, previously in draft, was significantly amended in April 2012 and should be read in it's entirety.


  1. Criteria
  2. Referral/Transfer Process
  3. Assessment Process
  4. Child Protection Cases
  5. Services to Children with Disability
  6. Services to Carers
  7. Disability Register
  8. Reviews

1. Criteria


The Disabled Children's Teams provide specialist social care services for Disabled Children which include:

  • A public duty point providing sign posting, advice, information and Single Assessment of Disabled Children who have a Permanent and Substantial Disability (Children's Act 1989);
  • Core/Carers assessments of Disabled Children and their families who are likely to need specialist services;
  • Specialist Occupational Therapy assessments of children in need of aids and adaptations;
  • Arranging statutory Short breaks provision;
  • Arranging services outlined in the chronically sick and disabled Persons Act;
  • Undertaking Child protection enquiries in relation to children who have severe and complex disabilities;
  • Meeting statutory requirement in relation to severely Disabled Children Looked after including those for whom adoption is required.

The criteria are that the child must:

  • Be aged 0 - 18 (19 if still attending special school);
  • Have a permanent disability (diagnosed by a doctor or consultant) be significantly impaired and;
  • Whose needs cannot be met via universal or targeted services as evidenced in the CAF
1.3 The criteria do not include children diagnosed with emotional/behavioural difficulties or a psychiatric illness who should be referred to the malt/camhs services.
1.4 Any children diagnosed with emotional/behavioural difficulties or a psychiatric illness will only be eligible for referral to the Disabled Children's Teams if they also have other disabilities which meet the criteria.
1.5 Where mainstream social workers hold cases of children who have a mild to moderate disability advice support and consultation can be made available from the specialist Disabled Children's Team, a discussion in the first instance should be held with the Duty team manager or senior practitioner

2. Referral/Transfer Process


Disabled Children needing one of the listed services above will be referred directly to the Disabled Children's Teams Duty point. All referrals made by a professional should be supported by a CAF (common assessment Framework). Referral's that are in relation to immediate child protection concerns that do not have a CAF should not be delayed and should be made immediately by phone and followed up in writing.

Where a transfer request is received from mainstream social care teams and it appears that the criteria for the Children with Disability Service are likely to be met, The Disabled Children's Team Duty worker will undertake a joint visit with the allocated worker and a decision made by the duty Team Manager as to whether the criteria for transferring the case are met. The allocated worker will remain responsible for the case until transfer is agreed and arranged. Transfer of cases should always be planned between the respective team managers to ensure key duties are met. Where there are child protection concerns, see Section 4, Child Protection Cases.
2.2 Where there is a dispute, the matter should be discussed between the relevant team managers with a view to resolution.
2.3 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's Team will receive a Single Assessment of their needs carried out jointly by a qualified social worker and occupational therapist. The Single Assessment will result in the following decision:

  • The child does not have a disability or they have no identified needs;
  • The child has a disability but their needs could be met by universal/targeted services;
  • The child has a disability and their needs can be met via the basic offer of short breaks and or minor adaptations.
The Child has a severe or complex disability whose needs cannot be met without the provision of specialist services and a core/carers and/or specialist Occupational Therapy assessment is required.
3.2 All Assessments will be carried out in consultation with the family, using information from other professionals as appropriate. The Child will always be seen as part of any assessment process.

Additional specialist assessments will be undertaken as necessary from:

  • Occupational Therapy;
  • Sensory Impairment;
  • Continuing Health care.
3.4 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 from abuse or neglect - see Section 4, Child Protection Cases.
3.5 Parents of children with disability and the child (depending of their age and level of understanding) will be given information about the Disability Register - see Section 7, Disability Register.

4. Child Protection Cases

4.1 Child protection enquiries in relation to Disabled Children who have severe or complex disabilities will be undertaken by the Disabled Children’s Team. The only exception to this is when the disabled child is part of a large sibling group and the case is not currently known to the disabled Children’s Team the duty social work team will be responsible for any S47 Enquiries, Where the Duty team retain responsibility for the child's case, appropriate advice will be provided by the Disabled Children's Service relating to issues arising from any disability. However, the assessment process and any instigation of child protection procedures will remain the responsibility of the Duty Team until such time as the case is formally transferred.
4.2 The Disabled Children’s Team will usually undertake all Section 47 Enquiries and assessments in respect of children who are already open cases even when part of a large sibling group, cases in these circumstances will be transferred directly to the responsible area social work team at the point of Initial Child Protection conference.
4.3 In cases where there is a child with disability as one of a group of siblings who are the subject of an ongoing child protection plan under child protection procedures, The Disabled Children’s team will allocate a secondary work to the disabled child.

5. Services to Children with Disability

As a general principle, where children and families can receive universal and targeted services, these should be provided as a way of minimising the impact of disability and avoiding any unnecessary segregation. All professionals should refer to the family support strategy and pathway in their work with Disabled Children. The CAF should be used as an early intervention tool to ensure disabled Children and their families can be supported to live ordinary family lives.

Where the CAF identifies that specialist services are likely to be required, these may be provided by health or voluntary agencies as well as the local authority and should be considered as part of the CAF process. The CAF should also consider if the families needs could be met by the basic offer of short breaks (see short breaks Access and eligibility statement.

Disabled Children who are likely to require specialist social care services as outlined in Section 1, Criteria should be referred to the Disabled Children’s Team. The support services that may be provided by the Disabled Children’s Team for a disabled child and his/her family range from:

  • The provision of advice and 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;
  • Equipment, aids and adaptations including assistance were appropriate with applications for Disabled Facilities grants and re-housing;
  • Short breaks providing Support for the child in/outside the home;
  • Services under the Chronically sick and disabled Person Act i.e. Home care - See Chronically Sick and Disabled Person's Act 1970 for Disabled Children Procedure;
  • Short breaks providing overnight care;
  • Support services using direct payments - see the Direct Payment Policy and Direct Payment Procedure.
When services have been agreed, they will be incorporated into a service/Care Plan and will be subject to regular review and monitoring.

6. Services to 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 for children in need and their families - see Carers Assessments of Parents/Carers for Disabled Children Procedure.

7. Disability Register

The Disability Register holds information about children with disability and is a legal requirement for all local authorities.

Nottingham City Councils Disability Register is commissioned to an external provider who also provide information services on behalf of the city council. Further information can be found at the Ask Iris website.

Parents are asked whether they wish to supply information about their child for inclusion on the register.

The register is used to plan and develop services for children with disability and to ensure parents receive information on available services.

All parents should be given information about the Disability register at the point of a Single Assessment unless that assessment conclude the child does not have a disability.

8. Reviews

Reviews of Child in Need Plans for children with disability take place every six months, one of these reviews maybe undertaken as a meeting between the allocated worker and their Team Manager (a paper review) but a minimum of one review per year must be conducted with parents, children and other agencies present. Reviews are conducted more frequently where circumstances require it at the discretion of the Team Manager.

The paper 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’s Team manager for approval. Where necessary, changes to the Child in Need Plan will be made and the amended plan circulated to all involved.

For reviews of children in receipt of short breaks, see Short Breaks - Threshold and Access Criteria Procedure.