Social Care assessments


This section provides information about Community Care assessments for both children and adults.


Community Care assessments for children with SEN/disabilities:


You are strongly advised to read the excellent guide produced by Contact a Family called 'Getting social care services when your child has additional needs'.  Download a copy here


The main statutory guidance 'Working Together to Safeguard Children' which covers the assessment of children with SEN and/or disabilities is found here.  You should download a copy to understand the different assessment routes.  There are two main routes:

  • A Section 17 assessment of the child's needs under The Children's Act 1989.  This used to be called (and sometimes is still called) a 'Core assessment'.  
  • A Section 47 assessment of the parents under The Children's Act 1989.

An assessment under Section 17 can result in a child with complex or severe needs being issued with a Care Plan - this can include additional support being provided (now mostly provided through Direct Payments but now, via the EHC plan, may include a Personal Budget).


Parents can also request social services to undertake a Carer's Assessment.  Carers now have some fairly strong legal entitlements, which includes their right to work, to access leisure services, to study etc.  


In most cases, it may be helpful to ask for any service or Direct Payments to be made for the child - as any service provided for a Carer may be subject to a charge.  


A template letter that you could use to request a Section 17 under the Children's Act 1989 has been produced by Barnado's and is available here.


Community Care assessments for adults


In most cases, a child who is in receipt of support from Children's Services will then go through a period known as 'Transition' when they begin the transition to Adult Services so that they don't lose the support they need when they become 18.  


A new Care Act 2014 was implemented in April 2015 which should inform the assessment process.  The latest statutory guidance can be found here.   


The information about Community Care assessments, produced by Disability Rights UK, provides clear and accessible information.  The same charity provides a range of factsheets about claiming benefits.