Every Disabled Child Matters, in association with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, has created a template letter to help families with disabled children to gain an assessment for social care services.
This letter is intended to help parents who have been told that their council will not assess their disabled child in relation to short breaks or any other specialist social care service.
The law says that councils must assess every child who is or may be a child 'in need'. Children are 'in need' if they are 'disabled'. Therefore, it is unlawful for a local authority to refuse an assessment for a disabled child.
The first step for a parent of a disabled child who needs short breaks, or other social care services, is to ask for an assessment. Parents should ask their social worker (if they have one) or the duty worker for the Disabled Children's Team (or equivalent) if they will carry out the assessment. If the answer to a request for an assessment is 'no', then a version of this letter can be sent to explain the legal situation.
The letter, and an accompanying guide, has been written by Steve Broach, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and Alex Rook, Associate Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, two lawyers who specialise in cases involving disabled children. This is intended as a general guide and does not replace legal advice on their specific case.