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Children who are Disabled Early Help and Social Care

Early Help and Social Care services aim to help disabled children who live with their families in their own homes and communities by providing support, advice and guidance.

Our outcomes

We aim to work in partnership with children and young people, parents, carers and families, to safeguard and promote their wellbeing. This includes the following:

  • safety
  • health
  • learning and development towards independence and adulthood

How we work

Lots of support, activities and events for children and young people with SEN or disabilities, including short break activities, can be accessed by families without needing Early Help or Social Care. Additional support can be found through Family Partnership Zones.

Needs assessment

Children who have multiple and/or complex disabling impairments may need more intensive support identified through a needs assessment. This can be completed by a Family Worker from the Children Who Are Disabled Support Team. If the assessment identifies eligible needs, according to the Childrens Services Threshold Tool, a range of services can be provided.

Family Workers provide specialist Early Help for disabled children and their parents and/or carers. This can include the following:

  • key working
  • advice and guidance
  • equipment for children who have sight and hearing impairments
  • in-home help or short breaks, including via Direct Payments

An assessment can also be completed by a Dorset County Council (DCC) Occupational Therapist where the request is for home aids, equipment and adaptations for children and young people who have physical or learning disabilities. These services can be provided under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 which you may find referred to in an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Family Workers, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers work together in the east and west of the Dorset County Council area to provide the right level of support for families.

Children's social care teams

Children's social care teams provide a statutory social work service to 'children in need' and their families. Not every family with a disabled child needs a Social Worker. Social Workers commonly focus on children with multiple and complex needs who often live in difficult or challenging circumstances where they are at risk of harm, or pose a risk to themselves or others. Social Workers have legal child protection duties and work with looked after children (children in care) and their families, but they also work proactively to help prevent difficulties starting or repeating.

All the children's early and social care teams work closely with other professionals and agencies including early year's education providers, schools and health services or other community based professionals.

How do I access the service?

If you live in East Dorset, Purbeck or Christchurch district council areas, please contact the Duty Officer at Children who are Disabled East.

If you live in West Dorset, North Dorset, Weymouth or Portland, please contact the Duty Officer at Children who are Disabled West.

Safeguarding

If you have concerns about a child, please contact the Pan-Dorset Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). If you feel that a child is immediately at risk of harm please contact the emergency services on 999.

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