Children’s Social Care Duty and Assessment Team
A parent or carer of a disabled child can contact Children’s Social Care directly and ask for a “child in need assessment” which is an assessment undertaken by a qualified social worker.
The Children Act 1989 definition of a disabled child includes those children who are under 18 and are:
- blind, deaf or dumb (unable to speak because of a verbal impairment)
- suffering from a mental disorder of any kind or
- substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity (a deformity present at birth)
‘Child in Need Assessments’ are undertaken by social workers in the Duty and Assessment Team and are often called ‘Single Assessments’. They take place to understand your family situation and the support your child and your family might need. Parents and carers can request a Single Assessment by contacting the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
What happens during a Child in Need assessment
A social worker will want to visit you at home, speak or spend time with your child and the key adults in their life and contact other professionals who may already be supporting you. Information is gathered and an assessment report is completed within 45 working days. A copy of this assessment report is given to you, with an explanation of the services and support which you and your child are eligible for according to the Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Board Thresholds Guidance.
Getting Help and Support
Not every family who receives a Single Assessment will be eligible for on-going social work services. The child’s assessment will identify help and support from a range of services and organisations that are available through the Local Offer – including those which are provided by Children's Services, Health and the Voluntary Sector. Children with profound and complex disabilities may receive a social work service from the Children’s Specialist Support Team, based on the outcome of a single assessment, especially if there are additional needs such as:
- parent, family support or sibling support
- promoting independence and social development
- child protection
- prevention of coming into care or being placed away from home
Parent Carer Assessments
A Parent Carer Assessment takes place at the same time as the Child in Need Assessment and is part of the Single Assessment report. This part of the of the assessment process looks specifically at the parent carers wellbeing needs and the welfare of other children which the parent carer looks after.
Other Pathways to Support
A Single Assessment from a Children’s Social Care Social Worker is one way which the Council works with families to identify appropriate help and support. For any parent who wants to know more they can contact the MASH to discuss what other types of assessments and support could suit them and their situation best, including from our Early Help Teams and the Voluntary Sector.