You can request an assessment of your child’s needs even if your child has not received a formal diagnosis. Needs assessments are carried out by social services to look at the additional needs your child has and determine the extra provision from social care that they may need to support these. In Kensington and Chelsea these assessments are usually carried out by the Disabled Children’s Team (DCT), however this is dependent on whether you meet their criteria. The Locality Social Work Team can also carry out these assessments. Social services should notify you one working day after receiving a request, whether they are going to assess. The assessment should take into account your child’s needs, your needs and the needs of other family members (and ‘significant others’).

The approach should also be holistic in looking at the child as a whole and addressing their needs within their family and wider community i.e. their educational, religious and cultural needs.

Once the assessment is complete and if the local authority has agreed that services should be provided, a care plan or package should be produced that outlines who is going to do what and when. This can include direct payments, transport, support in the home, play services, overnight respite and some equipment.

In addition to a needs assessment a Carer’s Assessment can be requested, this should be carried out at the same time  as the needs assessment or if you agree to defer you can request it later. This focuses on your needs as a parent carer and how this role impacts your overall wellbeing, health and other commitments such as work, education and relationships. Following an assessment the Local Authority will decide if you are eligible for support. This may be provided to either you or your child (i.e. additional respite days) in order to reduce the impact of caring on you.

Both Needs Assessments and Carers Assessments are completed annually however you and your family have a right to have a re-assessment at any time throughout the year if your child’s needs change.

To apply for an assessment, contact the Duty Social Worker line on 0207 598 4921.