Shropshire Council

Disabled Children's Team Update

21 March 2021 Last updated at 02:18

We can all reflect on the past 12 months and the huge impact on all our lives from the Coronavirus pandemic. In the Disabled Children’s team, we understand that the past year has been particularly difficult for our families caring for a child with additional needs. Education, support services and short breaks have all been affected, which has meant families have not had the same level of breaks from their caring responsibilities.

It has certainly created additional demands and challenges for us in the Disabled Children’s Team, we have adapted to working from home, virtual meetings and being more creative in ways of supporting children and their families. We have been amazed how resilient our children and families have been throughout this pandemic and how well they have coped through this adversity.

'It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others' - Dalai Lama.

Who is in the Disabled Children’s Team?

We are a team consisting currently of 13 workers, including 3 Senior Social Workers, Social Workers, a Student Social Worker, a Short Break Reviewing Officer, and we are supported by a Team Manager and a Service Manager. 

What do we do?

The Disabled Children’s Team (DCT) works with children and young people (up to the age of 18 years) and their families whose primary need for services arises out of the child(ren)’s intrinsic condition and disability, which has a substantial or critical impact on the quality of the child/ young person and their family’s lives and these needs cannot be met by universal/ targeted services alone.

The Disabled Children’s Team works to the same statutory requirements as all other children’s social work teams. This includes providing services through children in need, child protection and looked after children processes.

We cover the whole of Shropshire and currently there are approximately 300 children and young people open to the team.

We undertake Social Work Assessments (SWAs) following referrals received through Compass (children’s social care front door). The conclusion of the assessment should provide a clear understanding of need that will enable care planning and inform service provision. The team aims to promote the care of children within their own families and communities by sign posting to or providing services including short breaks if assessed as appropriate. A parent carers assessment will be offered, and undertaken if agreed, as part of all SWAs.

Some of the services that we provide alongside social work intervention include overnight short breaks, community based short breaks through groups or outreach, short breaks via direct payments (please refer to the Local Offer for more information). Not all children and families will need the same level of services, some need more than others because of the impact of their child’s disability and some families may need more support because of their individual family circumstances. We know that needs change over time and this is considered through a review process, revision of support plans and reassessments as appropriate.

We seek to support children, young people, and their families to identify their strengths, to become more resilient, to minimise the impact of disability and to promote independence in preparation for adulthood.

We work closely with parents, carers, children and young person to improve outcomes and life chances. We also work in partnership with health, education and other professionals who share responsibility to ensure that the best outcomes are achieved for children and young people.

The Disabled Children’s team provides advice and support to families, Social workers work with families to support them in ensuring that children are safe, happy and making progress towards the outcomes identified in their EHCP.

The team aims to –

  • ensure children and young people are safeguarded and protected from harm.
  • to offer the right service at the right time.
  • to meet care and support needs whilst promoting choice, inclusivity and equality of opportunity.
  • Our aim is that short breaks deliver positive outcomes for children, young people and their families, including opportunities to have fun, learn new skills promote independence and life skills in preparation for adulthood.

Two social workers within the team are currently involved in a pilot project for preparing for adulthood. The aim of which is to strengthen transition planning between Children and Adult Services; change culture, identify gaps in provision, and areas for development and practice in relation to preparation for adulthood.

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