Councils unlawfully refuse care assessments
Friday 7th 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:
- Needs assessment request - template letter (England) [DOC]
- Needs assessment request - template letter (Scotland) [DOC]
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.
- Template letter: Challenging a refusal to assess your disabled child for care and support services (Wales and England) [DOC]
Other information from Contact
- Parent guide: Services and support from your local authority - England - explains the rights of your child and family to get practical support at home from social services departments, and what you can do if you are not happy with the support you are receiving.
- Read our Personal budgets in England factsheet [PDF] for an overview of how personal budgets work in education, health and social care in England, including direct payments.
- Wherever you live in the UK, you can call our freephone helpline (Monday-Friday, 9.30am-5pm) on 0808 808 3555, ask us a question by emailing email@example.com