Disabled Children's Team
The Disabled Children’s Team (DCT) is a specialist service that offers support to children and young people with severe, enduring, complex disabilities aged 0-18 and their families.
We work closely with parents, carers and your child/young person to improve outcomes and life chances. We also work in partnership with health, education and other professionals as appropriate who share responsibility to meet your child’s needs.
The Disabled Children's Team is located in Shrewsbury and covers the county of Shropshire, excluding the area under the jurisdiction of Telford and Wrekin Council.
Who is in the Disabled Children's Team
The Disabled Children's Team currently consists 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.
Who do we help
The Children Act 1989 places a duty on children’s services to provide or co-ordinate the provision of services to all disabled children: ‘To provide an appropriate range and level of services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need’ and ‘so far as is consistent with that duty to promote the upbringing of such children by their families’.
The majority of children in Shropshire who require services will receive them through universal provision within their local community. The same should be true of any child with a disability. Disabled children have the same rights as other children and we want to ensure that, with the right support and the same opportunities, all children lead fulfilling lives and achieve their potential.
The basis of this approach is that children with a disability are regarded as children first and as children with additional needs second.
The Disabled Children’s Team offers information, support and advice when a child’s disability is complex, and specialist social work assessment and intervention may be required.
Social workers in the team assess needs and provide social work support and care management to children and young people who meet the eligibility criteria which includes:
- Severe learning disabilities
- Severe physical disabilities
- Profound multiple disabilities
- Severe sensory impairment
- Complex and severe health problems
We may sometimes be able to help children with less severe disabilities if:
- A parent has a disability or chronic illness
- The impact on the family is severe
- A sibling also has moderate disabilities
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 sort of support we can offer
We aim to offer the right service at the right time. We aim to meet care and support needs whilst promoting choice, inclusivity and equality of opportunity. We support children, young people, working in partnership with their families to identify their strengths, to become more resilient, to minimise the impact of disability and to promote independence in preparation for adulthood.
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.
We understand that all families are different and need different levels of support and different types of 'short breaks' dependent on their child’s disability, age and family circumstances.
Not all children and families will need the same level of short breaks: some will need more than others because of the impact of their child’s disability; some families may need more support because of their individual family circumstances. It is also recognised that needs change over time for a child with a disability and their families. This is considered in reviews and reassessments as appropriate.
Our aim is that short breaks deliver positive outcomes for children, young people and their families, including opportunities to have fun, learn new skills and promote independence where possible.
The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011 require local authorities to set out a range of services that will help parents of disabled children to have breaks from their caring responsibilities. This is set out within the Shropshire Short Breaks Statement.
Examples of some of the services we might be able to provide or organise based on assessed need include:
- The opportunity for children and families to have a short break
- Support for a child to access their community
- Short breaks such as family-based shared care, residential overnights, outreach, sessional support, childminding
- Support in meeting a young person’s personal care needs
- Direct payments for carers of disabled children for children services
- Direct payments for children with a disability who are 16 - 17 years old
These services can only be provided following a social care assessment of your child’s needs and those of your family. Services for disabled children are provided under Section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, and under the Children Act 1989.
The type of break and frequency will depend on assessed needs and the impact the disability has on family life. When we assess the needs of a child with a disability we also take into account the needs of their parents and other children within their immediate family.
Section 97 of the Children and Families Act 2014 requires local authorities to assess parents and carers on the appearance of need, or where an assessment is requested by the parent/carer. This is called a ‘parent carers needs assessment’.
We work in partnership with the Preparing for Adulthood Team from when a young person is 16 to ensure a seamless transition to adult services when that person becomes 18.
Shropshire Children with Disabilities Register
The Children Act 1989 requires all local authorities to keep a register of children with disabilities to assist with planning and monitoring services.
We're required to maintain the above, which holds information about children with disabilities, and gives service commissioners the access they need to information to plan and deliver effective services.
Inclusion on the register is voluntary, and parent carers can supply information to the register by following our All-in registration process, which we use to determine whether children with disabilities are eligible to access our All-in short breaks. Nearly all of the information on our register comes from that process.
All information is removed from the register once a young person turns 18.
How to get help
Referrals can be taken from a parent, family member, or a professional involved with your child. For all new referrals and requests for service call our First Point of Contact (FPOC) on 0345 678 9021.
Professionals making referrals will need to complete the Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF)
For existing service users who need to contact their DCT key worker or social worker directly:
- Email - PACT-DCTMailbox@shropshire.gov.uk
- Phone - 01743 250227
Children looked after
Children in care are children who have become the responsibility of the local authority. This can happen by voluntarily arrangement with parents or through a court order.
This can be for a variety of reasons, such as the impact of complex disability upon the family despite a high level of support, parents struggling to manage the needs of their child for various reasons, or intervention by children’s services or the police due to safeguarding concerns.
Children looked after (CLA) live in a variety of arrangements, for example in a foster placement, a children’s residential home or a specialist residential school.
Children looked after (CLA) with SEND usually receive specialist help from the children looked after virtual school.