Disabled children's service and the children's resource centres

The Disabled Children’s Service (DCS) is a specialist social care service for the most disabled children in North Yorkshire.

DCS works with around 375 severely disabled children and their families. Typically these children have severe learning disabilities including autism, often accompanied by behaviour that challenges. There is an eligibility criteria (embedded). Disabled children who do not meet the criteria for DCS will be assisted by social care colleagues in the Children and Families Service.

Social Workers from DCS assess the needs of these children and their carers and where the family needs support to care for their child or for a break we will aim to meet assessed need by offering short breaks (previously known as respite) either in the home, in the community or in settings like foster care or short breaks units.

The local authority has a range of legal duties in respect of disabled children, including the duty to assess if requested and to establish if the disabled child and their family have support needs. If they have services are provided and these packages of care are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that the support offered is meeting need. These duties are enshrined not only in the Children Act 1989 but also in the Short Breaks Regulations 2010 (embedded)

DCS also has a range of duties in respect of severely disabled children who are at risk of harm or neglect (safeguarding) and for a group of children who are Looked After (in care).

DCS manages three short break units (usually called Children’s Resource Centres) which offer day care, holiday care and overnight short breaks. These units are reserved for only the most complex cases where families require an intense level of specialist support from skilled carers. There is an overnight criteria (embedded). These units are Registered as Children’s Homes with Ofsted and all three are rated Outstanding.

Local Authority responsibilities

The local authority has duties to disabled children and their parents and carers, to children at risk of harm and those who are Looked After.

References /links to associated information

DCS Eligibility Criteria

DCS Overnight Criteria

Statutory guidance

Short Breaks Regulations

Contact for more information

Karl Podmore, Head of Disabled Children's Service