What is it?
If you are a parent carer of a child with a disability and have parental responsibility, you have the right to request a parent carer needs assessment (the Children and Families Act 2014). The assessment will consider:
- Your individual needs as a parent carer
- Things that could make looking after your child easier for you
- Your well-being* as a parent carer
- The need to safeguard and promote the welfare of your disabled child
- The need to safeguard and promote the welfare of any other children that you care for
We must assess parent carers if:
- It appears to us that the parent carer may have need for support, or
- We receive a request from the parent carer to assess their need for support
We would not do a parent carer needs assessment if:
- Your child has an allocated social worker. Your needs would be considered within a social work assessment for your child
What support might a parent carer and your family get?
The assessment will consider your needs as a parent carer, but it will not lead to a direct service or budget for a service. It will help identify support available for you and your family, from our other departments or other local agencies.
Examples of support
- You may feel that the needs of your child with a disability impacts on your other children, and that you are unable to offer them the time and attention you would like. The plan may identify a referral to young carers, where they can meet with other young people who have a sibling with a disability
- If you have health or mental health needs, a referral could be made to our adult services for support in your own right
- You may feel that you would benefit from your child with a disability attending activities outside the home. This would allow them to have new experiences and allow you to have a break from your caring role. An application for short breaks might be appropriate
New parent carer needs assessment pilot scheme
In November 2018, we started a three month pilot assessment scheme. We started doing parent carer needs assessments separately, without the full social work assessment. The pilot is being led by workers within our short breaks team. Find out more at Norfolk's SEND Local Offer in development, under the heading New developments.
How to request a parent carer needs assessment
Our short breaks team currently handles all requests and assessments. You can make a request by:
- Downloading and returning the parent carer needs assessment request form, or
- Emailing us the following details; your name, address, telephone number and details of your child/children with a disability. Let us know a convenient time to call you back between 9am - 5pm
Contact the short breaks team
(Please note, all requests and subsequent assessments will be recorded and stored electronically under your child’s name.)
We will call you back within five working days, to discuss how you would like to complete the assessment. This could be by telephone or a face-to-face meeting at a location convenient to you. You could also complete the parent carer needs assessment form yourself and email or send it to the short breaks team.
The assessment form has two parts:
- The first section asks for details of the additional caring responsibilities you have, as a parent of a child with a disability
- The second section considers the impact of these caring responsibilities on you
At the end of the assessment, we will agree whether:
- A parent support plan should be drawn up and what it should to include. For example:
- Signposting to support services and advice on agencies you can approach yourself
- You should consider applying for a short break for your child
- We will make referrals to our other departments or other local agencies (with your permission)
- There is no further action needed
If a plan is drawn up, this will be reviewed annually.
How long does the assessment process take?
The process will take no more than 40 working days, from first contact with the short breaks team to the end of assessment and creation of a plan (if needed).
*The well-being duty is an important addition to guidance in the Children and Families Act 2014. It means we must consider:
- Your personal dignity and respect
- Your physical and mental health and emotional well-being
- 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 well-being
- Your domestic, family and personal relationships
- The suitability of your living accommodation
- Your ability to contribute to society