Parent carer’s needs assessments (children under 18)

What is a parent carer’s needs assessment?

All assessments of disabled children should take into account the needs of the parent carer, whether or not there is a separate parent carer’s needs assessment.

However as a parent carer you also have the right to request a parent carer’s needs assessment from your local council so that your individual needs as a parent carer can be considered alongside the things that could make looking after your child easier for you.

If you request a parent carer’s needs assessment, usually a face to face meeting will be arranged with someone from social care.  The meeting will focus on you as the parent and discuss with you the help you need.

At your assessment, your wellbeing as a parent carer and the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of your disabled child and any other child that you care for will be discussed and taken into account.

The ‘wellbeing’ duty is an important addition. It means the local council must consider:

  • Your personal dignity and respect
  • Your physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Your protection from abuse and neglect
  • Your control over your day-to-day life
  • Your participation in work, education, training or recreation
  • Your social and economic wellbeing
  • Your domestic, family and personal relationships
  • The suitability of your living accommodation
  • Your ability to contribute to society

The parent carer’s needs assessment could result in you being offered services such as short breaks or direct payments to meet your own assessed needs.

What the law says?

The Children and Families Act 2014 amended the Children Act 1989 (sections 17ZD, 17ZE12 and 17ZF).  Local authorities must assess parent/carers if:

  • It appears to the authority that the parent/carer may have needs for support, or
  • The authority receives a request from the parent/carer to assess the parent carer’s needs for support

These assessments are called parent carer’s needs assessments.

When can I ask for a parent carer’s needs assessment?

You can ask for a parent carer’s needs assessment of your needs at any time.  This could be because things are changing – for example, you may wish to return to education, training or work or your child is approaching transition to adult services. 

If requesting a child’s carer’s assessment ‘in transition’, it should take place when it will be of most ‘significant benefit’ to your child or you, the parent carer.

How do I ask for a parent carer’s assessment in Norfolk?

Contact the customer service centre and ask for a parent carer’s needs assessment under the Children and Families Act 2014.

The customer services centre will pass your information through to the children with disabilities team who will arrange for someone to make contact with you to arrange the parent carer’s needs assessment.

What happens after the parent carer’s assessment?

Following the parent carer’s assessment, Norfolk County Council will decide a) whether you need support, and b) whether your child needs support and if so, whether these needs can be met (wholly or partly) by services under the Children Act 1989, section 17. 

If it is decided that there is no need to provide services, your case may be closed with no further action.  If you disagree with this decision, you can challenge it using the county council’s Children’s Services or Adult Care complaints procedure.

If the outcome of the assessment recommends the provision of services, someone from the social services department will set out what has been agreed in a care plan.

The care plan

The care plan should set out what has been agreed between social services and you and your family to meet any identified needs including:

  • What services will be provided
  • For how long the services are needed
  • What outcomes should be achieved by providing the services
  • What each person and agency is expected to do
  • The date of the next review (the care plan should be reviewed regularly to ensure any services remain appropriate)

Social services can arrange the services set out in the care plan on your behalf or you can ask for direct payments to arrange and buy the necessary services that you and/or your child needs yourself.