Disability Social Care 0 – 25

For updates and information on service delivery, please visit the Disability Social Care 0 - 25 coronavirus webpage.

Disability social care

Children and young people with disabilities have the same rights as others.  We want to make sure that they and their families have the social care information, guidance and support, where needed, to help them meet their potential. Every child, young person and family is different so we will always work with you to make sure what we do is right for you and your family.

We want to be sure that they grow up with the right support that will give them the same opportunities as other children, including accessing universal services and being able to lead fulfilling lives.

If you are over 18 and are not already supported by disability social care 0-25, you can request an adult social care assessment.

In order to determine what your needs are, we carry out an assessment. If your child has a disability they are entitled to an assessment. When we assess the needs of disabled children and young people we take into account the needs of their parents and other children in their immediate family.

A member of staff from Children’s Social Care will come and meet you and your family. We will ask your permission to talk to other people who know you and your family’s circumstances. The information we gather is used to write a report which is the assessment. After an assessment, the level of service required to meet those needs is determined by taking into account a range of factors:

  • Child’s needs
  • Child’s abilities
  • Strengths and needs of parents/carers
  • Impact of caring for the child on the family
  • Support available to the family
  • Support available to the child
  • Home environment
  • Child’s social networks

These factors will be assessed against our 'four tiers of support / needs grid', which helps us decide what level of support a family can be allocated. 

Please note: Short break funding may be available through self-assessment.

Our working description of disability is: The needs of the disabled child or young person are beyond those of a non-disabled child of the same age and means they are likely to require lifelong support in the future from statutory services. Under the definition of disabled children in the Children Act 1989, all disabled children are children ‘in need’ and are entitled to an initial assessment. If on assessment the child or young person’s disability is likely to lead to lifelong support from statutory social care services, early help and social care funding support will be offered as follows:

  • If assessment identifies need at level 2 or more on the needs grid below Early Help funding support will be offered for the local social care short break
  • If assessment identifies need at levels 3 or 4 on the needs grid below social care support will be offered.

Level 1

General Position Disabled Child’s Needs Siblings needs Parent/carers needs

Child requires support to access services to broaden experiences and/or prevent build up of stress in family.

Child’s level of need limits their participation in community activities and their development would benefit from additional social and leisure activities.

Child’s needs are restricting sibling’s opportunities.

Child’s needs are impacting on parent’s personal or social lives.






Level 2 - Early Help Funding

General Position Disabled Child's needs Sibling needs Parent / Carers needs
Child requires services to prevent impairment of health or development and/or alleviate stress in the family which may lead to risk in 3 or 4

Child’s level of need results in them being unable to participate in community activities which increases impairment.

Child’s needs significantly restrict sibling’s personal or social lives.

Parents need to provide significant care to other dependents who would otherwise be at risk OR child’s needs are significantly impacting on parent’s personal or social lives.

Level 3 - Early Help / Social Care support

General Position Disabled Child's needs Sibling needs Parent / Carers needs
Child very vulnerable to risk of significant impairment of health or development OR the need for long term accommodation

Child’s level of need results in lifelong impact with likely lifetime support from statutory social care services.

Child’s needs are impacting on well-being and development of siblings Child’s needs met but at significant cost to their own physical or mental health OR serious risk of family breakdown

Level 4 - Early Help / Social Care support

General Position Disabled Child's needs Sibling needs Parent / Carers needs
Services required to prevent immediate risk of significant impairment which might directly affect child’s growth, development, physical or mental well-being OR to prevent the need for long term accommodation. Child’s essential care or medical needs or need for emotional development and stimulation cannot be met Sibling’s essential needs cannot be met because of disabled child’s needs

Neither child’s nor parent’s essential needs are being met.

There is a range of services that can be made available to meet the assessed needs. The support that is offered, however, should address the needs identified in the assessment. It is also recognised that needs change over time for disabled children and their families. These needs will be considered in reviews and re-assessments as appropriate but families may also wish to ask for a new assessment if their circumstances change.

  • Support for children or young person to do things in their community
  • Support and training for the child or young person to develop independence and life skills appropriate to them
  • Support to meet personal care needs appropriate to them
  • The opportunity for children and families to have a short break
  • Support to families and carers
  • Support to think about and prepare for the future

If you are not eligible for our services, we will give you information about other sources of support.

  • Our aim is always to encourage the use of inclusive activities and services that are available to all. We will provide information and advice about these and support children and young people to use them as independently as possible.
  • You can register with the Special needs Community Information Point (SCIP), our information and advice service for families with 0-25 year olds with a disability or additional needs.
  • For children and young people with very complex needs, specialist services will be required. These will be provided by health, education and social care working together.
  • For children and young people who may need some additional support overnight, following social care assessment and agreement at the Disabled Children's Panel, support can be provided through the use of direct payments or at one of the three Cambridgeshire County Council Children's Homes who offer short term and longer term overnight stays.

This team is the first point of contact with Disability Social Care and they will carry out social work and early help assessments. Depending on the eligible needs of the child and the family the team will:

  • Develop an early help plan with the child and family and review it every six months
  • Develop a child in need plan which will be implemented and reviewed by one of the Disability Social Work Teams
  • Provide information, advice and contact details about activities, services, technology and other services that may be of use
  • Agree a plan and personal budget for children to develop skills, do activities they enjoy and prepare for adulthood. This is called the ‘short break offer’. You can get this either through a social care assessment or via self assessment further information is on our short breaks offer page.

How resources are allocated

Following an assessment (for children up to 18 year olds), the Referral and Access Team will continue to support you and review your plans if you are eligible for short breaks funding or early help support. 

If your child and family meet the eligibility for social care support, you will work with one of the Disabled Children’s Social Care teams below. The young adults team could support some young adults up to the age of 25 to ensure a smooth transition into adult services.

You can request an assessment by calling 0345 045 5203

These teams provide social work support and care management for children and families with complex needs who meet our eligibility criteria. The team will:

  • Work closely with you, your child and relevant others
  • Offer the option of a personalised budget to meet agreed social care needs of your child
  • Visit your child every six weeks and review their needs at least every twelve weeks
  • Update the assessment and plan every year or more often if things change
  • Support children in the care of the local authority when their needs cannot be met at home

The Young Adults Team supports young adults with a diagnosed learning disabilities and/or autism from 18 up to the age of 25 to move into adulthood, to make choices and be as independent as possible.

The team will:

  • Complete social care assessments and reviews
  • Work together with health colleagues to complete assessments related to their learning disability
  • Develop support plans for those eligible to help people meet their goals they want to achieve in adult life, for example work, interests, living arrangements, staying healthy and safe, money, friendships and being part of the community.
  • Provide advice, information and access to other services and support
  • Support the growing autonomy, choices, decision making and rights of young adults
  • Work closely with children, young people, families and others who support them before they reach 18 to enable early preparation for adulthood
  • Plan for and support the move on to other adult support as needed when the person is settled in adult life (this will be when its right for the person but must be before they are 25)

If your son or daughter has a children’s social worker already they will have a key role in preparing for adulthood and ensuring that any social care support provided is focused on thinking about and planning for the future. For some, this will also lead into identifying what support may be needed in the longer term so that the young person and their parents or carers will know what they can expect and what support they will have when transitioning into adult services. In a young person’s 16th year the children's social workers will start to work alongside the Young Adults Team so that the adult social care assessment and support planning process is completed and, for those eligible, in place for them when they turn 18.

There will be some young people who do not have a children’s social worker but who will or may need social care support as an adult. Where this is the case, the appropriate adult social care team will start working with a young person from around the age of 16 to assess eligibility and arrange adult social care support if needed.

The Preparing for Adulthood protocol document below gives more detail of the process.

There is general advice and support for everyone on our preparing for adulthood section within the local offer.

Disability social care children's eligibility Sept 2019228KBpdf
Size: 228KBFile format: pdf
Preparing for Adulthood Disability Social Care protocol July 1 2020482KBpdf
Size: 482KBFile format: pdf

Involving young people, families and carers

We involve parents and carers in the development and review of our services. Please take a look at how to get involved and our latest feedback.

  • Eligibility Criteria agreed by Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet on 21 April 2009.
  • Page updated with new contact details and adding the content of an eligibility document (PDF) directly on the page 6 January 2020.

Contact for more information

Disabled Children’s Referral & Access Team