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If you have a disabled child then your Local Authority (‘LA’) owes a number of duties to support and assist you and your family. These duties include:
What services are available?
These are not limited to care and include services aimed to assist both you and your child. It is important that you make sure any assessment completed by the LA considers the needs of your family as a whole.
The types of service that your LA may provide include:
To find out if you qualify for any services from your LA, contact them directly to arrange for an assessment. Once you have made the request to social services they have a duty to assess and a social worker will complete a needs assessment. After you request an assessment there are strict timeframes for the LA to adhere to, e.g.:
If you provide a substantial amount of the care for your child then you may also be entitled to an assessment in your own right and the outcome must be taken in to account when determining whether to provide services to your child.
If the outcome of the assessment determines that your family are eligible to receive services then a care plan will need to be developed for your child. If the LA decides not to provide services then they should give a detailed explanation of their decision.
Direct Payments and LA Charging
If your child qualifies for services then you have the option to receive these as direct payments, so that you will have the freedom to choose and manage how the services are purchased, subject to certain restrictions, including preventing you from employing close relatives or friends unless this is agreed by the LA.
Your LA has the power to charge for services and will determine this based upon a means assessment of you as parents until your child is over 16 when they will have their own means assessed.
The LA can only recover such charges as they consider appropriate but cannot recover charges from anyone who is in receipt of:
Further Information help and assistance
The first point of contact should be your LA social services department. There is an Early Support Programme at some Local Authorities whose role is to assist parents and carers of disabled children in accessing support and services.
If you are having difficulties in accessing information or support from your LA then Hugh Jones Solicitors may be able to assist you with this. We provide this advice and support on a regular basis in cases where we act as professional deputy and also to members of the public requiring assistance.
Please contact specialist solicitor Tom Young for further advice on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0161 871 3680