Councils unlawfully refuse care assessments

Friday 7 August 2020

According to a report published this week by Cerebra, Disability Law Service, Leeds University, and the BBC, at least 41 local councils across England have policies that block autistic children from getting a social care assessment. This is unlawful. 

We are concerned that this could also be a contributory factor in autistic children ending up in psychiatric wards in their teens due to the lack of social care support at home.

We also know from calls to our free helpline that it’s not just autistic children that are refused social care assessments.

The law says that councils must assess every child who is or may be a child ‘in need’. Children are ‘in need’ if they need help from the council with their health or development or if they are ‘disabled’.

Carers who are the family or friends of disabled children are also entitled to an assessment, either as a separate assessment or addressed through the disabled child’s assessment

We have a wealth of web information for families about your rights to social care, how to request an assessment, and what support you might be able to get.

Our helpline team has produced a template letter for you to use to request a needs assessment:

The template letter below can be sent when a council has refused to carry out an assessment. The letter should be sent to the Director of Children’s Services, to the social worker (if you have one) and to the Lead Member for Children’s Services.

Other information from Contact