Children and young people with special education needs (SEN) may need support for their social care needs. This is often provided by friends, family and local groups. However sometimes support will need to be provided through social care services, that are delivered or commissioned by us.
The need for assessment
Under the Children Act 1989, disabled children are regarded as ‘children in need’. However, identifying the social care needs of disabled children and young people does not necessarily require an assessment by a social worker. In many cases, needs can be met through universal services or early help and family support, without the need for a formal assessment. However there must be a good understanding of needs. Families must be able to get clear information about what support is available and how to get it.
In some cases, there will still be a need for a more formal assessment.
What we must do
When we decide a child may need SEN provision through an EHC plan, we must do an assessment of their special educational needs, and related health and care needs. We must seek social care advice as part of that assessment.
What the EHC plan must contain
When an EHC plan is made following the needs assessment, it must:
- Contain details of the child or young person’s social care needs. These should be related to learning difficulties and disabilities which result in them having SEN
- Specify any social care provision which must be made, for a child or young person under 18. This should come under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Person’s Act 1970
- Include social care provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN. This should not come under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Person’s Act 1970. This includes any adult social care provision made under the Care Act 2014, to meet the needs of young people over 18
We may specify other social care provision reasonably required by the child or young person, which is not linked to their learning difficulties or disabilities. This will enable social care provision in child in need or child protection plans, to be included in the EHC plan.
Information for social care professionals
If we request social care advice, social care professionals will need to consider carefully what information to share with others. You must take account of Government advice on information sharing:
Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers.
This advice sets out ‘seven golden rules’ and some key principles.
When giving advice social care colleagues need to:
- Identify any social care needs which relate to the child or young person’s SEN, their aspirations and relevant outcomes
- Consider the relevance of historical involvement information, to the child's current education, health or care needs, desired outcomes or required provision. This will depend on the individual. Generally the more time that has elapsed since information was gathered, the less likely it is to be relevant
- Decide whether it is appropriate to include such information as part of your advice. Does the benefit of including the information outweigh any negative consequences, particularly for the child or young person?
Social care colleagues should refer to:
Guidance and process regarding the completion of the social care needs report for EHC assessment.
This guidance is for:
- Social work staff
- Norfolk Early Help Family Focus (NEHFF) team
- SEND coordinators
It contains principles and practical advice about writing outcomes-focused advice for EHC needs assessments.
The SEN team will request the information in one of two ways:
- With support from Early Help staff where there are no associated allocated social care professionals
- If the family are currently supported by a social worker we will request information using shared management of information systems
All requested social care information should be submitted using the social care needs report for EHC assessment form.
Timescale for providing existing advice
Social care professionals should return the completed assessment form within two weeks of the received request by the SEN operational support team.
It should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Timescale for providing new advice
Social care professionals should return the completed assessment form within six weeks of a received request by the SEN operational support team.
It should be sent to email@example.com