Social care for children

To determine whether your child may be entitled to social care support, you will need to ask your local authority to carry out an assessment of their needs.

Children and young people with complex communication needs can receive support from social workers based in local authority ‘children with disabilities’ teams.

These teams provide a range of social care support for the child and their family, including:

  • Practical assistance in the home.
  • Providing, or support in acquiring, useful technology.
  • Help to access recreational and educational facilities outside the home.
  • Travel and other assistance.
  • Home adaptations and facilities.
  • Holidays (respite).

Your right to an assessment

To determine whether your child may be entitled to social care support, you will need to ask your local authority to carry out an assessment of their needs.  The assessment is the start of the process to decide if services are needed and for you to tell the local authority about your child and family’s needs.

Following acceptance of a referral by the local authority children's social care service, a social worker will lead a multi-agency assessment.  

The purposes of social care assessments are:

  • To gather important information about your child and family.
  • To analyse your child’s needs.
  • To decide whether your child is a child ‘in need’ (as defined in section 17 of the Children Act 1989).
  • To provide support to address those needs to improve the child's outcomes.

If the local authority decides that social care is necessary, then it must fund a sufficient level of services to meet the needs which were identified in the assessment.

The statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ sets out the processes which local authorities use for managing individual cases.

The Deafblind Guidance

If your child is deafblind, they have additional legal rights under the Deafblind Guidance.

Learn more about the Deafblind Guidance.

Working together for change

At Sense, we want to see a world where no one with complex communication needs is isolated, left out or unable to fulfil their potential. Together, we will continue to campaign for better access to health and social care services for children.

Find out about the work we are doing through the Disabled Children's Partnership campaign.