Social Care & EHCPs

We often get asked why a young person might need a social care assessment as part of the EHCP process. Social Care is traditionally viewed as being the realm of safeguarding, but in relation to children with SEND, it’s much more than that.

Technically speaking, any disabled young person is a Child in Need under the Children’s act 1989; however, case law dictates that  

“There is no requirement for local authorities to carry out social work assessments of every disabled child. Local authorities can instead offer a Common Assessment Framework assessment or other ‘Early Help’ assessment in some cases” (R (L and P) v Warwickshire County Council [2015] EWHC 203).  

This is unhelpful because it allows Local Authorities to set their own thresholds regarding who does and doesn’t qualify for an assessment. If your young person has an EHCP, chances are they also have social care needs, but they may not meet the thresholds set by your Local Authority. This means they are never assessed as having needs that require social care provision, resulting in no social care provision. 

You might seek to commission an independent social care assessment to remedy this issue and contribute to the EHCP. The assessment can then be used to appeal via the national trial, which extends first-tier tribunal powers to include health and social care. 

The Social care: guide to the 0 to 25 SEND code of practice (2014) tells us that:  

“Where a child or young person has been assessed as having social care needs in relation to their SEN or disabilities social care teams: 

must secure social care provision under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (CSDPA) 1970 which has been assessed as being necessary to support a child or young person’s SEN and which is specified in their EHC plan.” 

What is Social Care provision under the CSDPA 1970? 

“(a)the provision of practical assistance for the child in the child’s home; 

(b)the provision of wireless, television, library or similar recreational facilities for the child, or assistance to the child in obtaining them; 

(c)the provision for the child of lectures, games, outings or other recreational facilities outside the home or assistance to the child in taking advantage of available educational facilities; 

(d)the provision for the child of facilities for, or assistance in, travelling to and from home for the purpose of participating in any services provided under arrangements made by the authority under Part 3 of the Children Act 1989 or, with the approval of the authority, in any services, provided otherwise than under arrangements under that Part, which are similar to services which could be provided under such arrangements; 

(e)the provision of assistance for the child in arranging for the carrying out of any works of adaptation in the child’s home or the provision of any additional facilities designed to secure greater safety, comfort or convenience for the child; 

(f)facilitating the taking of holidays by the child, whether at holiday homes or otherwise and whether provided under arrangements made by the authority or otherwise; 

(g)the provision of meals for the child whether at home or elsewhere; 

(h)the provision of a telephone for the child, or of special equipment necessary for the child to use one, or assistance to the child in obtaining any of those things.” 

-HM Government (1970) Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act. 

As you can see above, the provision is very broad and can apply to many things. Some common themes we comment on in relation to the above include transition issues, extended throughout-the-day curriculums, personal assistant support in the home, access to the community and much more. 

The previously mentioned common assessment framework in relation to the Warwick caselaw is also very broad, this means that Social Care can comment on any area included in the framework. 

This technically means that there is very little a social worker cannot legally comment on, which in the arena of EHCPs can be highly beneficial when the process seeks to silo down to individually assessed needs, tie them all together and hope for the best. 

A lot of the time, social care needs are also education needs. Education, Health and Social care are intrinsically linked, which means a lot of social care recommendations can be section F provision. 
 
“Where a CYP does not just need help with basic life skills (such as dressing or washing) (sometimes referred to as independent living skills), which would be social care, but also needs to learn those things (such that the provision in question needs to educate/train the CYP to help develop/enhance their independent living skills or basic life skills) which could make it educational provision; and so the CYP has an educational need arising from their difficulties in those areas.” (Noddy Guide, 2022) 

Under Section 17 of the Children’s Act, Social Workers should consider the parent/carer’s needs and parenting capacity as it recognises the need for a holistic assessment to fully capture the range of needs and provisions needed to meet those needs. 

Sometimes we get pushback from legal and judges regarding what we should be commenting on, telling us that we are outside our remit. They believe we should just focus on those provisions ordinarily available via Local Authority Services.  

We simply point out the common assessment framework, the role of a social worker, case law, and how we are ethically bound to comment on anything that affects the YP’s welfare. This means we talk about SaLT, OT, Educational Provision, and anything that applies to the YP’s overall welfare. 

It is surprising and, frankly, terrifying how little professionals (even legal professionals) know about Social Care law. 

It is imperative to obtain social care advice if you are seeking an extended day/waking day curriculum or independent living provision. 

Wishes and Feelings, Capacity and Post 16. 

This is sometimes neglected in the lives of disabled YP, unless it’s weaponised by the opposing party. It is central to everything we do, especially post-16 when the Mental Capacity Act applies. 

The Mental Capacity Act, post 16 can be tricky. We will create a separate blog specifically on this subject, as it is much needed for parents and carers. They often find themselves at the mercy of the Local Authority regarding this because they simply weren’t aware and assume that parental responsibility covers them until the YP is 18. We undertake capacity assessments (that can be used for the Court of Protection), have a lot of involvement in the best interest process and protect young persons’ liberties (Deprivation of Liberty Orders/Liberty Protection Safeguards). Social Workers are considered experts in this area. 

Preparing for adulthood- 

From year 9 onwards, transition to adulthood is a legal consideration in EHCPs however, Social Care: guide to the 0 to 25 SEND code of practice (2014) states: 

“Preparing for adulthood should form part of the planning for all children and young people with SEN and disabilities from the earliest years.” 

Most LA’s will wait until the year nine trigger to look at this. However, we should be assessing independence skills in relation to same-age peers and making provisions to help achieve outcomes via social care from the outset. This can include dressing, managing personal care, money management and much more. 

Ethics 

Furthermore, Social Workers are bound by a code of ethics, which includes “Challenging unjust policies and practices”. This means that Social Workers are ethically bound to challenge unjust practices professionally. For us, this looks like parent blame, fabricated and induced illness, unlawful practice, disregard for evidence-based practice etc.  

And challenge we do. Frequently! 

We are there to be in the young person’s corner. 

In conclusion 

There isn’t much that Social Workers can’t comment on and as such a good social care assessment can often be the oversight that’s needed to provide a holistic and balanced view of the entirety of a situation to achieve the best outcomes for all involved, including those in the young person’s wider world.  This can be especially helpful if your young person presents in a way that would generally be considered ‘complex’. 

To enquire about an independent social care assessment or book a consultation, please email: MaryCartlidge.ISW@gmail.com or AdkinTanya@Gmail.com  

Click the image below to join us for our FREE Q&A on 13th September 2023

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Guide Two - Trust Your Gut

Guide Two: Trusting your instincts is a vital part of the process for RADICAL (UN)Parenting and we will discuss the many experiences of the facilitator and the learners where this has either proven to be true when listened to or when you wish you would have listened and acted on that gut feeling.

Briefly discussing methods of communication for the neurodivergent person and how important it is to study our young people intently so that we can begin to talk their language.  This session guides you back to your most confident, enabling those advocacy skills to flourish once more and encouraging you to always trust your gut.

Week 3: Reasonable Adjustments

The pathway of SEN / EHCP’s / Reasonable adjustments and so forth can be a scary and bewildering place. But knowledge is POWER and this session aims to provide members with this power. 

Attendees will be given clear information and knowledge so they will be able to navigate these pathways armed with confidence. This will include basic law and children’s rights including ideas about what reasonable adjustments vs unreasonable adjustments are. We give examples of our own reasonable adjustments, how to ensure these adjustments are put in place and ideas on how to approach the professionals in your children’s lives to ensure that their needs are met. 

Members will also be equipped with ideas for “reasonable adjustments” versus “unreasonable adjustments”. A guest expert speaker – Karen Stepanova – SEN Consultant is arranged for this week who will give her very own presentations on the basics of SEN Law.

Week 4: Mental Health

In this session we look at how Imposter Syndrome can cause people to doubt their abilities.

The toll of advocating for children with additional needs can be detrimental to a parent or carer’s health. Our aim is to build up confidence and restore the mental health of parents or carers so that they have the inner strength to fight as hard as they can for their children.

This week focuses on changing negative thoughts to positive ones and helps restore the mental health of attendees. Jodie and Laura provide ‘Top Tips’ to staying mentally well during tricky times.  

Week 5: No-one can help me

What can I do? By week 5 we hope that all attendees will feel more confident, less stressed and have the skills and facts that they need to successfully advocate for their children. But we know that sometimes this is not enough.

The system can be fraught with challenges, and no matter how skilled you are, it can feel like your journey keeps being taken off track. In this session, an expert speaker will join to give fantastic advice on where to turn next when you feel you have exhausted all avenues. Practical advice regarding matters such as benefits, grants and additional sources of advice is also given, leaving the attendees feeling well equipped in their journey ahead.  

The Anxiety Nurture Programme

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The ADHD Nurture Programme

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The Autism Nurture Programme

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Guide Three: I'm Giving Up

Making sure that consistency is key, as our young people will not learn to trust us if we do not show them we are trustworthy. So making sure that when we start this process, we are committed to making it as successful as we possibly can.

Gaining trust, and keeping it is extremely important, however we all make mistakes, we will get triggered at some point, it is how we manage those mistakes that count. We are so used to being judged for our parenting choices, that throughout this session you be inspired to take back control of who you are, and give you the confidence to shut out the negative and leave more room for the positive.

Radical Guide Four: F*ck That Sh*t

Tuning out all the negative interference from around you will be crucial to enhancing your progression through this change, and this is something that will be difficult for a lot of families particularly when people are not yet ready to accept the RADICAL approach. Ditching the negative impacts on your parenting so that you can be free to be you. No shame. No judgment, just unapologetically you!

Join us whilst together we chant:   

F*ck That Sh*t

Week 3: Worrier to Warrior

In this final session, we will help you and those you support to find ways to reframe negative thoughts so that it is possible to “think better and feel better.”  We will also cover practical strategies to help you manage your anxious self, keep calm and turn you from a worrier, to a warrior, ready to battle everything that life throws at you.

Guide Five: RADICAL CONNECTION - Neuroparenting with Kristy Forbes & Jodie Isitt

Kristy and Jodie have worked together for a number of years and are completely aligned in their parenting, and in fact all round beliefs. Creating neuro-inclusive spaces, using neuro-affirmative approaches as standard. 

Week 1: Introduction to ASC

We will explore the many aspects of being autistic or having an autistic family member. Jodie will share her road to diagnosis for her three children and finally herself and her own diagnosis in 2020 at 35 years of age.  This first week will lay the foundations for the rest of the Five week programme. 

Week 2: Differences I May Experience

Focussing on the saying, “When you have met one autistic person you have met one autistic person” we will take a deeper dive into the way that autism effects everyone individually.  During this session we will look at sensory needs in more detail and provide some ideas to help keep autistic children more regulated.

Week 3: Advocating For My Autistic Child

Laura and Jodie feel that “small changes make a big difference” for autistic individuals – and during this session we will discuss helpful tips for parents and reasonable adjustments for schools and colleges. 

In this session you will also be able to ask us questions relevant to this topic and we will signpost you to other helpful organisations and sources of information related to Autism. 

Week 4: Sibling Support

There is no doubt that an autism diagnosis can affect the whole family.  In this fourth session we will explore the impact autism can have on families and siblings.

We will discuss lots of helpful approaches to help you support your whole family and explore the positive aspects of an autism diagnosis.  We will also discuss how to support siblings of autistic individuals using empathy and understanding whilst also covering the importance of looking after your own mental health as parents.

Week 5: The Autistic Experience

Chloe, Jodie and Laura will discuss the medical model of autism and some of the theories of autism which are now proven to be out-dated and detrimental to autistic individuals.

Chloe will talk using her personal insight as an autistic adult, will discuss effective ways to support the mental well-being of autistic individuals and answer questions from attendees.

Week 2: Nurturing Anxious Minds

Whilst it is true that many children suffer from anxiety at any one time, those who are neurodivergent (ie are autistic, with or without PDA; have ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia etc) are more likely to have anxiety to varying degrees as part of their experience.  In this session, the anxiety experienced by any child is approached with understanding and acceptance and is jam-packed with practical ways to support children in a positive and nurturing way.

Week 1: Understanding Your Anxious Self

In this first session, Laura and Jodie gently introduce what anxiety can look and feel like with a real and tangible understanding that all participants come from a variety of experiences. Together, we will look at the impact anxiety can have on how we behave and interact with different people as well as the internal struggles it can bring.  By offering an invitation to reflect on and recognise our own anxiety and the negative internal voices that drive it, they begin to consider ways to quieten those voices and fears both for ourselves and those we wish to support. 

Week 2: Nurturing Advocacy Confidence

The aim of this session is to break down attendees’ advocacy skills, then rebuild them so that facts and controlled emotions are used successfully.

Laura and Jodie share their experiences of advocating for their children – both good and bad and demonstrate how to use assertiveness skills effectively and remove emotive language.

They also share their “Top Tips” before, during and after transitions to ensure that all objectives are achieved.