Most children and young people with special needs and/or disabilities will use the services that are there for everyone in the community, for example leisure centres, doctors, etc. These are known as Universal Services.
A small number of children and young people, whose circumstances are complex and who may not be able to live at home without special support, will require assessment by the social care teams. Where children and young people are assessed as needing social care services, families may choose to have a direct payment to arrange their own support.
An early referral is encouraged for an Adult Services assessment, also called a transition assessment, as an assessment of needs may be required. The law says that this must happen when it would be of "significant benefit' to the young person. Care Act (2014).
Families may be referred by a professional or refer themselves through the integrated children's services telephone service 0300 456 0108 which includes all referrals for SEND.
They will be asked to provide basic information on the telephone including:
- Name and address
- The people who are living in the house
- The nature of the child or young person's needs
- Any diagnosis the child or young person has
- Other support services they are receiving
- Whether the child has a MyPlan or CAF
- Support networks available to the child
If offered an assessment, your assessing worker will decide whether or not you meet eligibility for adult social care. Your assessor will look to see if you have a substantial risk to your wellbeing in certain areas of your life such as needing support with personal care. The eligibility criteria can be found in the Care Act 2014. The fact that a young adult is eligible for adult social care does not necessarily mean that they will get the same support that they were receiving as a child. The level and type of support will instead reflect needs as an adult. Assessment for adult care or support must consider whether the young person is likely to have needs for care and support after they turn 18 and, if so, what those needs are likely to be, and which are likely to be eligible needs.
For many young people, living with parents when they reach adulthood is the preferred option. The council is committed to supporting the young person to live at home with their family. The support available to a person choosing to remain at home comes in different forms and not dissimilar to services provided as a child.
Social worker responsibilities include safeguarding, looked after children and those with complex needs where a risk to wellbeing exists. When working with young people with SEND, a social worker's role is primarily to make sure that young person can remain with their families with minimum intervention. It also involves overseeing the support they receive and working with them to build independence and resilience.
Where our family support panel decide to provide a Wiltshire Council service, a social worker will remain involved. They will review the package of support every 6 months to make sure it is meeting the young person's needs and achieving the outcomes the family are looking for.
When a service is no longer needed, the social worker's involvement will end. At this point our team will make sure a family has access to the universal and targeted sources of support that they need.
Will social workers use My Plans?
Social workers need to work across lots of areas of need and co-ordinate their support with multiple agencies. This means they have specific forms of assessment that need to be followed. They will still pay close attention to the kind of information in a My Plan. At the moment social workers will be most likely to use a My Plan to support a young person during transition.
If families are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Short Breaks payment, we will ask how this being used to support the child, as well as what use is being made of community or targeted services. If it is determined that a child has an outstanding need that cannot be met by universal or targeted services, or by what other members of the family or community are able to do to provide support, then a qualified social worker will be assigned to carry out a Single assessment. Ideally this will take place within 5 working days.
The social worker will visit the child at home and talk to them about their life. This is to help us build a fuller picture of the child's needs and how they are being managed. The social worker will then talk to any other professionals already involved in supporting the child, so we can co-ordinate any support with them.
After the Single assessment, a decision is made about whether a child or young person meets our criteria:
- A young person and their family whose main need for services arises out of the young person's disabilities or intrinsic condition
- These conditions have a substantial or critical impact on the quality of the young person's life and/or their family
- Their needs cannot be met by universal or targeted services alone
A family may be directed to more appropriate services or, if necessary, they will be assigned a social worker. The social worker will work with them to develop a plan on how to meet the young person's needs. This is called a Child in Need Plan. If a child has a MyPlan, this information will be used to inform the Child in Need Plan. How these two plans work together will depend on individual circumstances and how the young person's needs are prioritised. If a child has a SEND Lead Worker, their social worker will work closely with them to support the child. The social worker will also capture a carer's needs alongside the young person's assessment.
If the social worker decides that the young person needs a service provided by Wiltshire Council, they will make a referral to the Family Support Panel. This panel meets fortnightly and considers all recommendations for disabled children across the county. A direct payment could be offered at this stage. The social worker will set up the support agreed and make sure that the family remain informed.
If a young person meets our assessment criteria, a package of support may be offered through partner agencies or as a direct payment, including:
- Support at home (personal care, getting up and ready for the day, support during a time of crisis)
- Personal care (for individuals with substantial moving and handling needs)
- Day care (through Family Link Care or child minders)
- Overnight care (through Family Link or Canon's House).
This service supports children and young people with a disability/multiple disabilities. They provide assessment for specialist services and overnight short breaks. For more information, call the Children and Young People Disability Team on 0300 456 0108.
There are three respite services within the council, which young adults with a diagnosed learning disability can choose to access. The respite services are in Devizes, Chippenham and Salisbury. The number of nights offered to a young person is based on need, so varies from person to person. If a young people chooses not to access one of the respite services, they can request a direct payment instead. This option is available for young people with a disability who have an assessed need.
The council provides day opportunities across Wiltshire for young adults who have a learning disability. All day opportunities provide a variety of activities, including hydro, ice skating, swimming and bowling. These services are in Devizes Chippenham Trowbridge and Salisbury.
For young people where day opportunities are not appropriate, or are not a preferred choice, a direct payment can be requested instead. A direct payment is a way of paying for a personal budget. A personal budget is the amount that their support plan comes to. This option is available for young people with a disability who have an assessed need. How this is used is up to the young person and their families but can be used for private day opportunities or a PA.
Some young people and their families do not wish to receive a direct payment. In these circumstances a direct service may be something families wish to explore further. A direct service is where the council pays an agency directly to provide support in line with assessed need. A completed support plan is sent to all accredited providers within Wiltshire and they will tender for agreement to provide the support.
The Community Connecting team helps you find out more about services and facilities within your local community.
The Wiltshire Employment Support Team (WEST) assists young people in finding and sustaining varying levels of paid employment with local employers.
Most of the young people our team work with have long-term needs that are identified at an early age. These young people are likely to require support for the rest of their lives. The Children and Young People Disability Teams social workers continue to work with young people who have been eligible for services as children, until they have achieved stability in their lives.
At this point, individuals will be transferred to our adult community team for people with learning disabilities (CTPLD). We expect this to happen when individuals are aged between 18 and 25. This is done on a case by case basis, depending on the circumstance of the individual. During this time, we communicate closely with other health and care professionals, as well as individuals and their families, to keep them informed of relevant developments and processes.
Social workers and SEND lead workers will continue to work with young people and families in a person-centred way using the My Plan. Parents and young people will contribute to and have a copy of the My Plan.
More information about Adult Social Care in Wiltshire.
If a family we are working with moves out of Wiltshire, we can refer them directly to their new authority and share the results of the assessment and plan developed in Wiltshire.
When a family moves into Wiltshire, we will generally request information from their previous authority and this will be used to inform our own assessment, once the family has arrived in Wiltshire. If we have enough notice, our team are able to plan for their support before they arrive.
If you think a child or young person is at risk of significant harm, or is injured, contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub - MASH on 0300 456 0108. If there is immediate danger, phone the police or emergency services on 999.