Children's Social Care Team
How to access the Disabled Children's Team:
Most children with disabilities and additional needs will have their needs met in universal services and in the early help provision in the Family Wellbeing Centres across Sefton. Trained early help staff offer 1:1 and group support to help you to understand the needs of your disabled child. Many families find help is effective with sleep problems and behaviour management. Please see contact details and current information HERE.
Children with disabilities are encouraged to access Aiming High Short Breaks provision during the school holidays, evenings and weekends. Please see contact details and current information HERE.
Children's with Disabilities Social Workers Contact Details
Name Days of Working
Matt Greenhalgh Interim Service Manager
07929 709 655
Robert Byrne 07814 137555 Full time
Amanda Reese 07976 393601 Full time
Joanne Scott 07966 965174 Monday - Wednesday
Karen Gornall 07929 769301 Wednesday - Friday
Taran Leeks 07966 964876 Tuesday - Friday
If your child’s Social Worker is absence, you can contact the duty Social Worker or another Social Worker within the team via the Duty number.
The CWD duty number is 0151 934 3886.
A few children may require an assessment of their needs by a qualified social worker, which may lead to an ongoing plan of support and review under Section 17 Children Act 1989.
How to access an assessment of need.
Disabled children between the age of 0- 18 years and resident in Sefton can refer via the MASH for an Assessment of Need. They can be contacted on 0151 934 4481
Reporting a Child or Young Person at Risk:
If you are worried that a child may be suffering significant harm, or if you are concerned that a child has suffered harm, neglect or abuse, please follow the advice below.
Members of the public can:
- Call the MASH team (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) 0345 140 0845 between 8am and 6pm (minicom 0151 934 4657).
- Contact the Emergency Duty Team on 0151 934 3555 for urgent advice outside of office hours (from 5.30pm Mon to Thurs, and 4pm Friday and weekends). If you think a child is in immediate danger call for police assistance via 999.
- Families with an allocated Social Worker are advised to contact their Social Worker directly via their mobile phone number. If families are struggling to contact their allocated Social Worker they need to contact the duty team on 0151 934 4481.
- The duty number for the children with disabilities social work team is 0151 934 3886.
The process of Assessment:
Disabled Children are deemed “children in need” under section 17 Children Act 1989 and as such are entitled to an Assessment of Need by a Social Worker. The assessment process is person centred, holistic, involving the child, their family and other professionals and agencies who work with, support, monitor and review the child’s needs in their particular role. When assessing what support a child with a disability and their family may need the following factors will be discussed;
- The severity of the child’s disability and how it impacts on both the child’s life and the life of their family and parents/carers. This includes any challenges the child’s needs may pose to parents/carers that are considered attributable to their disability.
- The strengths and resilience of the family within their community
- The health, education, social and daily care and supervisory needs of the child.
- The context of a child’s chronological age and functional stage of development.
- If there is more than one disabled child in the family/household.
- The number of other children or caring responsibilities the parents/carers may have.
- If the parent/carer has a health need or disability.
- The degree of informal support within the child’s family and friend network.
- The child’s wishes and feelings.
- Whether there are concerns about a child’s safety and welfare, including whether there are child protection concerns.
- Dependent on the child’s age, preparation for transition to adult social care services.
Assessments require the consent of the parents. Assessments vary depending on the complexity of a child’s needs and circumstances and number of professionals involved. It should be completed within 45 working days.
The assessment will make recommendations about how a child’s needs can be met and may conclude this can be achieved without the need for more specialist support services. In this circumstance there will be no further action.
If a child is assessed to have unmet needs, the social worker will work with the family and all the other professionals involved to identify what interventions might be effective and the services that might be useful. A request for a care package or direct payments is made to a resource panel, who may approve or reject the application or request further information. This panel includes a service manager and professionals from social care and health (if the child is eligible for continuing health care).
If it is thought that a child would benefit from a plan of support overseen by a social worker or Early Help worker this is formalised into a Child in Need Plan or a Early Help Plan where the outcomes to be achieved, and the responsibilities for action are clearly identified. These plans are reviewed regularly. The frequency for review is agreed at the review meetings by all present. The Social Worker will also visit the child at least twice a year including in the family home.
It is recognised that the needs of children with disabilities and their families may change over time. Therefore it is important any support provided is reviewed regularly to account for this and ensure services are meeting needs and achieving agreed outcomes.
What happens if there are safeguarding concerns about a child with a disability?
Worries that a child may be experiencing physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect are taken seriously, including children with disabilities.
These concerns can come from anyone including other professionals, carers, agencies, members of the public or the child’s own family. Social workers have a duty to investigate any concerns and will do this in consultation with and the consent of whoever has parental responsibility for the child, unless by doing so the child would be considered to be placed at increased risk.
If a disabled child is not known or is no longer open to any social work team, concerns will be referred to the MASH team (Multi Agency Support Hub), who will assess the degree of risk.
If concerns are raised about a disabled child open to the Disabled Children's Team the child’s social worker in consultation with their manager and MASH together to assess the degree of risk.
If the child is felt to be at risk of significant harm social workers, in consultation with their managers, will call a Strategy meeting with other professionals, including the Police, to share information about the child’s needs and any risk and protective factors both past and present. This meeting will decide whether the child is judged as being at risk of or subject to significant harm and whether further investigation is necessary. If this is the case the child’s social worker will complete a section 47 investigation to gather more information that will either abate or substantiate concerns further and will conclude whether the child is judged to be at continued risk of significant harm and request an Initial Child Protection Case Conference. This is a multi-agency meeting that decides whether concerns about a child suffering or who is likely to suffer harm, are significant enough for them to become subject to a Child Protection Plan. This meeting takes place within 15 working days of the Strategy meeting (refer to LSCB threshold document).
Disabled Children's who need accommodation:
In some situations the complexity and challenges of a disabled child’s needs can mean a family is at risk of breakdown and/or there would be safeguarding concerns if specialist support services or full time accommodation were not provided. The child may also be a risk to self or others. If a child does need to be accommodated or “looked after” full time this decision could only be made based on a comprehensive assessment of need that clearly evidences this plan is in the best interests of the child. Social Workers with other professionals and agencies involved with the child would do this in partnership with the child and their family so this could be achieved voluntarily. In some instances if concerns for the child’s safety and welfare are not shared by those who have parental responsibility for the child it may be necessarily to initiate legal proceedings to ensure the best interests of the child remain paramount.
Children accommodated full time are referred to as “looked after” and subject to statutory social work involvement, reviewing and monitoring of their child’s “looked after” care plan. (See Care planning and placement regulations 2010)
All commissioned services provided by Sefton to children and their families are subject to Sefton’s charging policy. Parents/carers will need to complete a financial assessment form (FIN1) to determine what the charge may be or whether they are exempt. Proof of earnings, tax credits, allowances and benefits are needed as part of this assessment.
Parents/carers needs are taken in to account when undertaking an assessment of a disabled child's needs and is included in the Assessment Framework of Need for Children and Families 2000. Carers are also entitled to a Carers Assessment in their own right. Further information about this can be obtained from Sefton Carers Centre.