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4.1.1 Child Health and Disability


Short Breaks Procedure


In April 2015, this chapter was updated throughout and should be re-read in full.


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

1. Criteria

1.1 The criteria for the Child Health and Disability Team establishes the threshold at which a referral in relation to a child with a disability will be accepted on the basis that the child requires a specialist social care service.
1.2 Where a child has disabilities which appear to meet the criteria and particularly call for specialist intervention, these cases will be referred to the Child Health and Disability Team.

The criteria are that the child must have a permanent or long lasting disability (diagnosed by a doctor or consultant) and be severely or profoundly impaired.

The criteria for services from the Child Health and Disability Team are:

  • A significant visual impairment;
  • A significant hearing impairment;
  • A profound communication impairment;
  • A severe learning disability;
  • A significant physical disability;
  • A significant mental illness;
  • A life threatening condition or significant chronic illness;
  • Global developmental delay - This is a term which would usually apply to young children who have severe delay in all areas of development.
1.4 The criteria do not include children diagnosed with ADHD or HIV or a psychiatric illness.
1.5 Any children diagnosed with ADHD or HIV or a psychiatric illness will only be eligible for referral to the Child Health and Disability Team, therefore, if they also have other disabilities which meet the criteria.
1.6 Where mainstream social workers hold cases of children who might be considered to be disabled, appropriate advice and support can be made available from the Child Health and Disability Team.

2. Referral Process

2.1 Where a referral is received and it appears that the criteria for the Child Health and Disability Team are met, consultation will take place and advice sought as to whether the criteria for transferring the case 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

3.1 All children who meet the criteria for the Child Health and Disability Team will receive an Assessment of their need for services.
3.2 The Assessment will be carried out in consultation with the family, using information from other professionals as appropriate.
3.3 It is the impact the disability has on daily living that is a key part of the Assessment.

Additional specialist assessments will be commissioned as necessary from:

  • Occupational Therapy.
3.5 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.
3.6 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 / The Exchange.

4. Child Protection Cases

4.1 With new referrals (i.e. where the case is not open to the Child Health and Disability Team) where the primary concern is child protection, a discussion will take place between the relevant team managers within the Referral and Assessment Service and the Child Health and Disability Team as to which will hold responsibility for the case. Where the Referral and Assessment Service retain responsibility for the child's case, appropriate advice will be provided by the CWD 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 Referral and Assessment Service until such time as the case is formally transferred.
4.2 The Child Health and Disability Team will usually undertake all Section 47 Enquiries, assessments and legal proceedings in respect of children who are already open cases, although appropriate consultation may be held with colleagues in Referral and Assessment Services regarding practice issues.
4.3 In cases where there is a child with disability as one of a group of siblings under child protection procedures, joint working will occur between the Child Health and Disability Team and the Referral and Assessment Services as agreed between the respective team managers.

5. Services to Children with Disability

As a general principle, where children and families can receive mainstream services, these should be provided as a way of minimising the impact of disability and avoiding any unnecessary segregation.

Where the Assessment identifies that specialist services are required, these may be provided by health or voluntary agencies as well as the local authority. The Assessment will make recommendations as to the kind of services or equipment that are required to meet the child's needs.

Any recommendation for the provision of equipment requires the approval of the Children with Disability Service Manager. If approved, equipment will usually be provided on a long term loan basis. Adaptation work through a Disabilities Facilities Grant can be carried out by referral to the local authority and the family will be given assistance with this.

The support services that may be included in a support package for a disabled child and his/her family range from:

  • The provision of 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;
  • Support for the child in/outside the home;
  • Day care services such as childminding;
  • Short breaks providing overnight care - see Short Breaks Procedure;
  • Support services using direct payments - see the Direct Payments Procedure.

When services have been agreed by the Service Manager, they will be incorporated into a Child in Need Plan - or, where the child becomes Looked After, a Care Plan or Short Break Plan.

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 Core Care Management: Child's Multi Agency Assessments Procedure.

7. Disability Register / The Exchange

The Disability Register holds information about children with disability and is a legal requirement for all local authorities. In Bournemouth this is held by the Exchange.

Parents are invited to supply information about their child for inclusion on the Exchange Website.

The Exchange Data is used to plan and develop services for children with disability and also to assist Adult Services with information on future service needs.

8. Reviews

A Child in Need meeting will be held as part of the Assessment. (See Pan Dorset LSCB Procedures Manual, Assessment) Subsequent reviews of Child in Need Plans for children with disability take place within 3 months of the start of the plan and thereafter at least 6 monthly. Reviews are conducted more frequently where circumstances require it, e.g. where there has been a significant change in the child's circumstances or with the resource or resources involved.

The 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 Children with Disability Team manager for approval. Where necessary, changes to the Child in Need Plan will be made and the amended plan circulated to all involved as set out in Child in Need Plans and Reviews Procedure.

For reviews of children in receipt of short breaks, see Short Breaks Procedure.