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Social Care and Early Help

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Social care and early help

Disabled children and young people should be able to access services available to all children and young people. Not all children and young people with additional needs will require a specialist service or intervention.

All children and young people are entitled to access services and support such as education, health and leisure opportunities.

Some children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities may also be able access specialist services through a social care assessment.

What services and help are available?

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Services can be provided directly by the council or purchased through Direct Payments.

However, these direct payments can only be used to provide short breaks for parents or social opportunities for the young person. The family are responsible for identifying their own person to undertake this work. 

An agreement has to be signed and the monitoring arrangements will ensure that these directly arranged services still meet the identified outcomes from the Education Health and Care plan.

Services available are:

  • Universal services such as schools, health visiting, GPs
  • Targeted services for children and families beginning to experience – or at risk of – difficulties, for example school counselling, parenting programmes, support for teenage parents
  • Specialist services for children and families with severe and complex needs, including child protection services, inpatient child and adolescent mental health services

How do I access an assessment and services?

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Social care assessments are the process by which information about children young people and families is gathered, so that decisions can be made about what support and interventions families may need and be entitled to.

Early Help

All children, young people and their families should have had an opportunity to engage with Early Help, before a referral is made to Children's Social Care. Early Help is about ensuring that children and families receive the support they need at the right time.

Early Help can be accessed through the completion of an Early Help Assessment. These assessments are completed by a wide range of professionals, including schools, pre-school, health and voluntary organisations working with the children, young people and families who may have additional needs.

The Early Help Assessment process will help to identify additional support and co-ordinate the support around the family. More information can be found on the Early Help pages.

Within Peterborough there is a central hub for receiving referrals and making decisions about the most appropriate service to respond to the referral. 

To contact the central hub the telephone number is 01733 747474.

Early Support for pre-school children

Early Support is a national program established to improve the way that services for children with disabilities work with families and together.

The service is a pre-school age service for families with a child who has a disability. Children will have significant and profound learning, sensory impairment, physical impairment, social or communication difficulties, autism, and other disabilities and conditions that will impact on their life long development and learning.

Thresholds for children and young people with additional needs

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The 0-25 service is composed of the 0-18 children’s service and the 14-25 transition service.  Criteria for access to each of these services have some differences as set out below.

0-25 service for children and young people aged 0-18

The 0-18 service will provide an assessment where the child has:-

  • A presenting need which relates directly to the child’s disability
  • A physical, learning and or neuro-developmental disability or condition diagnosed by a doctor or consultant that is substantial, long lasting and permanent.
  • Complex needs which in order to achieve outcomes appropriate to their potential, as a result of their disability, the child or young person requires total or substantial support, not appropriate to their age, from another person which is not available within their family or wider network
  • Social Care support and safeguarding needs that cannot be met from other services without a specialist assessment

The 0-25 service is informed by the SEND legislation and guidance.  Therefore, children and young people accessing the service will be in education or training. The majority will have an Education Health and Care plan. Transition planning and preparation for adulthood within the 0-25 service will begin at the age of 14.

0-25 service for children and young people aged 14-25

The 14-25 service will provide an assessment where the young person :-

  • has presenting needs which are likely to have a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry normal day to day activities. As a result of the young person’s needs, the young person is unable to achieve two or more of the outcomes specified within the Care Act Eligibility Criteria (or is likely to if under the age of 18)
  • has complex needs which in order to achieve outcomes appropriate to their potential, as a result of their disability or impairment the young person requires total or substantial support, not appropriate to their age, from another person which is not available within their family or wider network
  • will be in education or training and most likely have a current Education and Health and Care plan
  • will require a transitions plan
  • has social care support and safeguarding needs that cannot be met from other services without a specialist assessment

Short breaks

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Short Breaks provide opportunities for children and young people with disabilities to spend time away from parents and carers within quality services.  Short breaks also provide parents and carers with breaks from their caring responsibilities and facilitate quality of life by enabling families to access places and activities together.

Short breaks are defined as:

  • Day time support in the child's home environment or elsewhere
  • Overnight care and support in child's home environment or elsewhere
  • Educational or leisure activities for disabled children outside their homes

More information can be found on the Peterborough Short Breaks Service Statement.

Support for carers

Carers Trust

The Children and Families Act 2014 gives parent carers and young carers, a right to assessment and to have their needs considered.

Carers Trust has produced a briefing on the Children and Families Act and its key provisions for young carers and their families. 

Further information can be found by visiting young carers and parent sections of the Children and Families Act

Transforming Care

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Homes, not hospitals

Transforming care is all about improving health and care services so that more people can live in the community, with the right support, and close to home.

Transforming care will mean that fewer people will need to go into hospital for their care. This means that we can close hundreds of hospital beds across England.  To do this we are making sure that services in the community are much better.  You can find out more on our Transforming Care  page.

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