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1.2.6 Eligibility for Care Support Services for Disabled Children and Young People

This chapter was added to this manual in December 2013.


  1. Legal Framework
  2. Introduction
  3. Eligibility
  4. Level and Type of Service
  5. Process

    Appendix A: Assessment Criteria

1. Legal Framework

The principal legislation for care support services to disabled children, young people and their families is the Children Act 1989. Under Section 17 of the Children Act disabled children are children in need. The Act places on local authorities two general duties to children in need: to safeguard and promote their welfare and to promote their upbringing by their families wherever possible.

The criteria in this document set out how London Borough of Redbridge interprets these two general duties to disabled children and young people living in its area.

Other legislation which is also relevant to the provision of these services includes the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (1970), the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000, and the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004.

The duty to accommodate a disabled child does not apply to Eligibility.

For the purposes of these criteria the term disabled has the meaning given by Children Act 1989 S.17, which states “a child is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be prescribed”.

2. Introduction


These eligibility criteria are designed to assist, apply once care needs of service user family and carers have been assessed. 

These criteria govern eligibility for social care services under the above legislation to the following groups:

  1. Children and young people who are registered (or eligible for registration) on the disabled children’s register;
  2. Parent carers of children and young people in (1);
  3. Other children and young people in (1) who are young carers in the household under 25.


These eligibility criteria are designed to meet three policy objectives:

  1. To safeguard and promote the well-being of disabled children by supporting their upbringing, education and participation within their families and communities;
  2. To reduce the need for disruptive or intrusive crisis responses in later life through the effective use of early intervention;
  3. To ensure that resources are allocated fairly taking account of need, outcomes for children, young people and their families and the principles of best value;
  4. Services covered by these criteria:
    • Out of school day care: includes after school clubs, Saturday clubs, holiday playschemes and youth clubs;
    • Domiciliary care: involves a carer going into the home, either to assist the parents with care tasks, or to give the parents a break. (Note: home nursing care not covered by these criteria);
    • Outreach: similar to domiciliary care, but instead of staying in the home, the carer takes the child or young person out;
    • Overnight breaks (also know as “respite care”): for a number of children and families, an overnight break where the child stays away from home is an important component in a package of care. The majority of our overnight breaks are provided in a small residential unit, but exceptionally we purchase care in specialist centres out of the Borough or from foster care agencies.
    • Direct payments: when a child or family is deemed eligible for services to meet assessed needs, instead of the Council providing or brokering the service, they have the option (subject to certain conditions) of receiving a direct payment in order to secure the service for themselves. A Direct Payments Support Service assists families in managing direct payments.

Further information on these services is available on request.

Links with education and health care

These criteria guide decision-making about support services to meet the social care needs of disabled children, young people and their families. The same children and young people may also have special educational needs or health care needs. The criteria for deciding whether children and young people need additional help to access the school curriculum or health care are based on education and health considerations respectively.

3. Eligibility


In order to qualify for services under these criteria three general conditions must be met:

  1. A child/young person living in Redbridge must have a disability (see Appendix A: Assessment Criteria for registration criteria); and
  2. There must also be good grounds for believing that a child or young person will not achieve good outcomes without the provision of services; and
  3. The provision of services is in the overall interests of the child or young person.


Specific Criteria

In order to be eligible for services, there must be evidence that one or more of the following conditions apply:

  1. Significant physical care needs
    • A disabled child or young person requires severe physical care; and
    • Without services there is a likelihood of harm to the physical or mental health of a carer (or carers) in the near future (i.e. within 12 months or less); and
    • Services will substantially reduce that likelihood.
  2. Significant behaviour management needs
    • A disabled child or young person’s behaviour is profoundly demanding; and
    • Without services there is a likelihood of harm to the physical or mental health of a carer (or carers) in the near future (i.e. within 12 months or less); and
    • Services will substantially reduce that likelihood.
  3. Long term family support
    • The care needs of a disabled child or young person places carers under stress and services are necessary to prevent a long-term deterioration in their health, well-being or ability to continue to care for the child.
  4. Child Protection
    • A child or young person has been assessed as being at risk of harm and services are required as part of a plan to safeguard the child and promote effective parenting.
  5. Placement Prevention
    • It is highly probable that without services a child or young person will become "looked after" (other than under a series of short term breaks), enter residential education, or require health care away from home and family / carer support services are required as part of a plan to prevent this.
  6. Parenting support
    • Without services, parents / carers would be unable to provide the quality or consistency of care necessary to enable a disabled child or young person to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health and development.
  7. Needs of siblings
    • Services are required in order safeguard and promote the wellbeing of siblings and enable them to achieve good outcomes.
  8. Social development
    • A child or young person’s opportunities for interaction with peers outside formal education are significantly affected by their disability and services are needed to promote healthy social development.
  9. Preparation for independence
    • A disabled young person requires services as part of a plan to develop their potential for independence as a young adult.

4. Level and Type of Service

Where children or carers meet one or more of these criteria, the nature and level of services provided will be determined by considering each of the following that apply:

  • The needs of the child/young person including their level of disability, the criteria which apply, and the overall care plan for the child/young person;
  • In the case of a young person aged 14 or more, their transition plan and their preparation for life as a young adult;
  • The wishes and feelings of child/young person and their parents or carers;
  • The circumstances of the family and the capacity of family members to meet identified needs;
  • The resources and supports available to the child/young person and family in the wider community;
  • The value for money of each of option available for meeting assessed needs.

5. Process


  1. The provision of services will only be considered when supported by a current assessment of need or a recent review of an assessment;
  2. There are two assessment frameworks which may be used in considering the provision of services. (i) The Common Assessment Framework may be used by any relevant professional involved with a child or young person. (ii) The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need is used by social workers. In most circumstances, an assessment or review using either Framework will be accepted provided it is completed to an adequate standard to support decision-making;
  3. A disabled child or young person may also access services funded by the Early Intervention Grant (Aiming High). These can be accessed via self referral and do not require an assessment of need. The services are aimed at those children who do not require regular social care input. The eligibility criteria for these services can be found in the document Eligibility Criteria for Short Break Services and is available on Redbridge i.
  4. Where consideration is being given to overnight breaks, it is normally required that a social worker has completed an assessment under the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need;
  5. In an emergency, services can be considered while an assessment is underway.


  1. Most requests for services are dealt with by the Resources Panel;
  2. Decisions of Panel are subject to the agreement of the budget-holder, the Head of SEN and Disability;
  3. In exceptional circumstances the panel can allocate resources to meet the needs of a disabled child where, in consultation with the Head of SEN it is felt appropriate to do so even if the formal disability criteria are not otherwise met.


  1. Care plans which involve the provision of services under these criteria will be reviewed regularly, at least once a year. Reviews may lead to a recommendation to change the level or nature of service provided, or to terminate the service if needs have changed or can be met in other ways.

Appeals and Complaints

  1. If a person affected by a decision based on these criteria is unhappy with the decision, they may contact the Head of SEN and Disability to explain why they think the decision was wrong. If the Head of SEN and Disability concludes that the decision was based on incomplete or inaccurate information, or that proper account was not taken of the information available, the relevant Panel will be asked to re-consider the case;
  2. The services and decision-making covered by this document are covered by the council’s complaints procedures.

Legal Appendix

Para 6 of Schedule 2 to Children Act 1989 as amended by S.25 CYPA 2008.

Appendix A: Assessment Criteria

Click here to view Assessment Criteria