Social workers for disabled children and their families

How we support disabled children and their families.

Seaside View children walking with mumThe social work team at Seaside View Child Development Centre manage specialist support services for disabled children and their families. For example a family may be referred to us for an assessment if they wish to access a service like short breaks or direct payments. We also work with families when someone has raised a concern about child protection. Find out more about the support we offer by clicking on the links below.

Social care support services for disabled children and their families

Accessing specialist support services

Families are referred to the social work team at Seaside View for an assessment when they wish to access a social care support service, such as short breaks or direct payments.

Eligibility criteria - who can get social care support services

  • Children with a severe learning and/or physical disability
  • Children with a moderate learning disability, where it is assessed that their needs (in terms of challenging behaviour/mental health issues) can only be met through the input of specialist services

We can work with children from 0 to 18. At 18, some young people move on to adult services if appropriate, via our Transitions team. This happens when they have an ongoing need and meet the criteria for help from adult services

How you can be referred for social care support services

If you have a child, or children, that meet our criteria (see above) you can be referred to the social work team within the Children's Disability Service (CDS). You can refer yourself by contacting the numbers below, or you  can ask to be referred by a professional that knows your family. In some circumstances, families are referred directly by professionals. Whenever possible we encourage this to be discussed this with you first. For more information about referrals, read our social care referrals flow chart (PDF 191kb).

Initial screening

The referral will first be screened by the Duty Practice Manager, who will read the information and decide if the young person meets the criteria for our service. If the Duty Practice Manager is unsure if they meet the criteria for support, they will discuss the case with the Head of Service or may contact the referrer or family for more information. In some circumstances an initial visit may take place to establish if the criteria are met. The family and the referrer will be informed of the outcome of the initial screening. If you are unhappy with this you can contact the Duty Practice Manager to discuss why the young person did not meet the criteria.

Allocation to Social Worker / Early Help Worker for assessment

If the young person meets the criteria for our service they will be allocated to a Social Worker or Early Help Worker who will open a Strengthening Families Assessment. Once allocated for assessment this should be completed within 30 days. However, in some situations, this may take longer given capacity within the service. They will arrange to visit the family and the child to collect information to inform the assessment. This will look at all the needs, behaviours and wellbeing of the child and family. The worker may contact professionals working with the family but you will be informed and permission sought before this happens.

The information from this assessment will be input into the Resource Allocation System which is an algorithm that considers the needs of the child and suggests an indicative budget. The worker will use the information collected and the information from the RAS to make a decision on whether a resource should be allocated to the young person and family. If at this point a service is not agreed then this will be explained clearly and advice given on what support is available. If the decision is made that a resource is required the request will be referred to the Resource Panel.  

Resource Panel

The resource panel meets once per month and consists of managers from the services available within Brighton and Hove and representatives from the Parent Carers' Council (PaCC) and Amaze. The Social Worker / Early Help Worker will attend this meeting and represent the young person and family and request services. The panel will consider the needs of the child and make recommendations about ongoing work or support. You will be contacted after the panel by the Team Administrator and the Social Worker / Early Help Worker with an outcome. If a resource is allocated to you then the Social Worker will explain the process of how this is set up.

Child Protection

seaside view three children smilingWhat happens if there is a child protection concern

For the majority of the families we work with, parents are putting their children’s needs first and providing a positive family environment. Any family can struggle to cope at times and we recognise that caring for a disabled child can be difficult and challenging.

Occasionally we receive a referral because there is concern that families are struggling to cope or because there is a child protection concern. The family may even have concerns themselves about how their ability to cope is affecting their child’s welfare.

If someone has raised a child protection concern, you will always be told from the outset that this is the reason for contact from the team.

We  have a statutory (i.e. required by law) duty to investigate when someone raises a concern that a child may be being harmed in some way.  In these situations a social worker will carry out an assessment and this may involve consultation or joint work with the police child protection team. We will need to see your child, to liaise with professionals that know you and your child, such as school or health staff and to talk to you.

We will usually seek your agreement but if there is a possibility that your child is at risk of significant harm those enquiries will always be made. The team also has a responsibility to consider whether any siblings may be at risk.

Often concerns are resolved at investigation stage, but sometimes there will be on-going assessment and perhaps a child protection conference to consider whether a multi-agency child protection plan is needed to work with you to improve things for your child or children.

About the social work service

Who’s who

The social work team works closely with our other colleagues in the Children's Disability Service team. The team is made up of qualified social workers and social work resource officers (SWROs). SWROs are not social work qualified, but have a range of other skills and training. The team are managed and supported by three practice managers, who are all qualified and experienced children and family social workers. There is an overall head of service who also has responsibility for other parts of the service.

What a family can expect from the service

If your family receives a service from the social work team at Seaside View, your child will become ‘open’ to the team.  This means that your child will either be one of a number of children whose case is managed within the duty system, or a specific social worker or social work resource officer will be allocated to you. Find out more in our social work FAQs document (PDF 38.5kb).

This worker, or the duty team, will be your point of contact and will have responsibility for co-ordinating and reviewing the services that your child and family receive. This may be a range of short break services and, very occasionally, families need additional support which could include shared care or a full time placement. Your child will have a Child In Need (CIN) Plan which will set out what the aims and desired outcomes are of the service(s) provided. The allocated worker or duty team will also offer support and advice to you and your child as appropriate. They will need to meet with your child on a regular basis, depending on the level of service provided, in order to get to know them and to keep their needs central to our planning. There will also need to be regular Review meetings and discussions, as we need to review our services to see how they are meeting the needs of children and families.

Comments or complaints

We are always keen to hear suggestions and comments regarding your experience of the service and any ideas about how we could improve things. It is also good to hear if we are getting something right.

If you have a complaint, in the first instance it is always helpful to raise your concern or disagreement directly with your social worker, or the duty social worker. One of the practice managers will also be happy to speak with you if you feel the matter is not resolved. If you are still unhappy with an aspect of the service, you can contact the complaints team:

by phone: 01273 291229
use the Complaints, comments and compliments form on our website
write to us at: Brighton & Hove City Council, Customer Feedback, Kings House, Grand Avenue, Hove, BN3 2LS

Involving parent carers

A parent representative is part of interview panels for new social workers or Social Work Resource Officers (SWROs). A parent-carer representative is also currently part of the project group for a pilot of Individual Budgets, and similar representation or consultation will be included in future service developments.  There is also the option for Amaze to suggest agenda items for discussion at the Children's Disability Service (CDS) Management Group, and any individual parents or carers can contact Amaze if they want to propose issues that they feel this group should consider.

We now have a process of sending out questionnaires to parents and carers on an annual basis to anonymously seek their feedback about the service they and their child receives.  This information will be collated and analysed, and will contribute to future service management and development.  Parents and carers are also welcome at any point to make suggestions or give feedback to their social worker or a manager in the service.

There is also a proposal to set-up a regular focus group of parent carers to consult about service development.

How to contact us

Seaside View Child Development Centre
Brighton General
Elm Grove
Brighton BN2 3EW
Tel: 01273 265825

A duty social worker is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm