Social care support for disabled children

Children and young people with complex disabilities 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 support in the home. 
  • Providing, or support in getting, useful technology. 
  • Help to access recreational and educational facilities outside the home. 
  • Travel and other help. 
  • Home adaptations and facilities. 
  • Holidays (respite).

Your right to an assessment

To find out whether your child is 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 assess 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.

Deafblind guidance

If your child is deafblind, they have added legal rights under the deafblind guidance. This deafblind guidance should inform the overall assessment of need. 

Learn more about deafblind guidance

This content was last reviewed in April 2022. We’ll review it again next year.