Children’s social care

Some children and young people (aged 0 – 25) with special educational needs (SEN) may have disabilities or other needs which mean they require support from social care services. Depending on the age of the child or young person these services may be provided by children’s social care services or adults social care services.
Your local council has a legal responsibility to help families with disabled children.
Your local council can provide different types of help, including:

• short break services
• holiday play schemes
• care at home
• some aids and adaptations
• financial help, eg money towards travel costs for hospital visits

Some services are free of charge – the council might ask you to contribute towards others.

Local councils have a duty to assess the needs of a child with a disability. An assessment is a way of finding out about you and your family and the sort of help you will need.

A referral for an assessment can be made by anyone, including the parent/carer of a disabled child, a GP or your health visitor. Depending where you live the referral may be passed to the Early Help Team or it may go to a Children with Disabilities team.

Families in England can find out about local services on the local council’s website as part of their ‘local offer’. The aim of the Local Offer is to support children and young people (ages 0 to 25) with SEN and disabilities to feel included within their communities and to be independent.  

The Local Offer contains information from providers who want to actively promote that they welcome disabled children and young people into their setting.

You may be aware of other providers in your area that are not part of the Local Offer and you still may be able to access their services as every provider is legally required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to welcome your children.

Where to find more information:


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