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Disabled Children's Service

The aim of the Disabled Children’s Service is to work in partnership with disabled children and young people, their families and carers to enable them to have the best opportunities in life.



The Disabled Children’s Team is a social work team which provides a specialised and longer term support service over and above that provided as part of universal or targeted services. Children and their families may be receiving support already through universal or targeted services, but this may not be sufficient. Access to specialist support is identified through an assessment by a social worker called a Single Assessment. The assessment will be undertaken by a qualified social worker communicating with the child or young person to gain their views using their preferred method of communication. The social worker will also talk to parents and carers and any relevant agencies which can assist with the assessment. Assessments may also be done with health professionals.

There are many things which the social worker will discuss with parents, carers and children when assessing the support which they need. They will include:

  • The severity of the child’s disability and how it impacts on both their life and their family or carer
  • The health and education of the child
  • If there is more than one disabled child in the family or household
  • The number of other children or caring responsibilities the parents or carers may have
  • If the parents or carers have a disability or health needs
  • If short breaks would improve the quality of  the child’s life
  • The level of  informal support within the social / family network
  • The child’s wishes and feelings
  • If there are concerns about a child or young person’s safety or any child protection concerns
  • The possible need for a Continuing Care Assessment by Health Services for children with multiple health needs, including those children with complex challenging behaviours in order to determine how those needs can be met.
  • Depending on the age of the child, any needs to prepare for adulthood or the transition to Adult Services

During or after the Single Assessment has been completed, services may be provided to meet the needs of the child or family or they may be signposted to another service or agency.


Services can be provided for children and young people with complex needs such as:

  • Social work and family support
  • Support within the home or community
  • Overnight care provision with family carers, residential units home
  • Access to direct payments
  • Short break services
  • Domiciliary Care in the home

Person centred thinking and planning is at the heart of the service.

The social workers work alongside other agencies such as schools and health services to develop inclusive practice to benefit children and young people.

It is recognised that the needs of a disabled child and their family change from time to time. There will be times when more support is needed or less so it is important that the services change according to assessed need. Therefore services are reviewed with the child, parent or carer at least every 6 months to ensure that the level of support is right and the child is making progress. In addition parents or carers can request a review.

Referrals and contact details


To make a referral or to request an assessment, a parent, carer or agency can contact Careline on 0151 233 3700. Careline is staffed by customer service advisors and social workers, who can take referrals for social work assessments, give advice or signpost to other services or agencies. Careline can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including bank holidays. There is an Out Of Hours Service for urgent matters.

Disabled Children’s Team

The Disabled Children’s Team can be contacted on 07876844310 during week day working hours. If a child has a social worker, their individual number will be provided for the child, family and agencies.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for an assessment by the Disabled Children’s Team the child  

  • Will be under 18 years old
  • Will be resident in Liverpool
  • Will have a permanent and substantial impairment, resulting in a functional disability, which affects their daily living
  • Will not be eligible if they are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, HIV or a psychiatric illness unless they have other disabilities which meet the eligibility criteria. (Parents, carers or agencies can contact Careline on 233 3700 who will decide on referrals to other teams for assessment, services, advice or information)

Child in Need Plans

Where a Single Assessment is completed by a social worker and results in a continuing plan this is called a Child In Need Plan. This takes place under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

The Child in Need Plan will be in writing and shared with parents, carers and young people. It will include all the services that are to be provided to meet the needs of the child and family. If possible it will be a single plan including all the services provided on a multi-agency basis. It will be reviewed at least every 6 months.

Services to parents and carers

A carer’s assessment can also be provided to parents and carers and should form part of the overall assessment to determine their needs

Liverpool Disabled Children & Young Person’s Passport +

Local authorities have a duty to have a record or register of disabled children in their area under the Children Act 1989.

This is voluntary for parents and young people.

This register is used to plan and develop services and to assist adult services with information on future needs.

It will not affect and services or benefits. It will also not guarantee any additional services or benefits

Direct Payments

A direct payment is a resource given to parents, carers or young people by the authority to enable them to buy in support following an assessment of need by a social worker from the Disabled Children’s Team. These payments do not affect benefits and are paid into a bank account regularly or as a one off payment.

As well as completing a Single Assessment the social worker will make an assessment as to whether the parent or carer (or young person if over 16 years old) is willing and able to administer direct payments with support provided. These assessments are then presented to a panel of managers in the service to decide if direct payments are the most appropriate option to meet the needs of the child and family and how funds should be allocated.

If agreed an agreement will be drawn up and advice given to the parent or carer setting out the responsibilities and obligations of both them and the local authority. The parent or carer will be supported over employing personal assistants, using agencies or other any other services to meet the needs assessed.

Contact details for advice, information or referral

Careline 233 3700 – 24 hour contact service

Disabled Children’s Team 07876844310 – week daytime hours

Short Break Services

For Liverpool's Short Breaks Statement and further information on the services available through the Short Breaks Service please see the Short Breaks section above.