Disabled children and young people

Information about the referral and assessment process for children who have substantial and permanent disabilities.

Eligibility for referral to the disabled children's service

The disabled children's service provides support for disabled children and young people where:

  • The disability has a substantial and long-term effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities; and
  • There are significant difficulties in meeting needs within their family, broader support networks or through local universal provision.

You can read an   overview of disabled children's services here (pdf / 1 MB).


Whilst eligibility decisions are based on individual need and professional judgement, including to what extent the impairment affects their lives and the lives of those who live with and care for them, it is likely that the disabled child or young person will fit into one or more of the following definitions:

  • A significant, permanent and enduring physical disability;
  • A significant global learning disability;
  • A severe and enduring communication disorder;
  • Autism with a significant global development delay and may have challenging behaviour; and / or
  • A significant sensory impairment.

Children who need lower levels of support may be eligible for a modest grant to purchase short breaks. For information about this see our short breaks statement. There is also information about what else is available in the local offer section.

Disabled children's service teams may also work with young people aged 18 and up to 25 years if they still have an education, health and care plan. You can find out more about preparing for adulthood here.

If you are over 18 you may also be eligible to services from health and adult services.

Referral and assessment

Referring your child

You can be referred by a professional who knows your child, like a teacher or a doctor, or families can ring up and talk to staff in our customer resolution centre. They will advise you whether the disabled children's service is right for you.

New referrals should be made to our customer service centre.

The next stages

First we will visit you at home to make sure we fully understand what your child and your family need. The support plan provided will depend on an assessment of need carried out by a social worker.

Support to parents as carers

When your child / young person is assessed, you will be offered a carer's assessment to see what support you need. These needs are taken into account in your child's support plan.

How the disabled children's service can help

After the assessment, we will advise you if your son or daughter is eligible for support from disabled children's services. We will then arrange to meet with you to discuss what help and support you need and draw up a support plan. You will be advised what sum of money will be allocated to your family for the support plan. This is known as a personal budget.

Care and short breaks services

Many parents need a regular break from their caring role. Short breaks can help children and young people to meet others, do activities they enjoy and increase their independence. We arrange support with registered private and voluntary sector organisations. Some families prefer to have a direct payment and employ their own care staff.

Care and short breaks services can include:

Families can also use a wide range of other services or creative solutions in their support plan. Some options can be found in the tools for personal budgets section below.

Advice and assistance

We will do our best to advise you or find the best agency to do so. We work with health professionals, schools and other agencies.

Full-time care

We aim to support families so that children can continue living at home. If children or young people can no longer live with their family we arrange for them to be looked after.

Child protection

Our social workers are trained in child protection. If a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, we work with families and other agencies to reduce the risk of harm. You can also find useful information on the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children website.

If your needs change

Services are reviewed regularly and can be changed. If you have questions, problems with the service, or your circumstances change you can contact your worker. If your need is urgent ask to speak to a duty worker if the worker you know is not available.

Personal budgets for care

A personal budget is a sum of money allocated to your child or young person after an assessment of their needs. It is the amount it costs to meet their assessed care and support needs.

This money can either be paid direct to you so that you can arrange your own care and support or we can arrange this for you, or a combination of the two.

We use a resource allocation system to calculate a personal budget for care. This ensures there is a fair system in place so that children and young people with the same level of need receive an equal amount of resources which is sufficient to meet their needs.

North Yorkshire local offer

The local offer provides useful information for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families.

Direct payment support service

North Yorkshire has a direct payment support service who can support you when you decide to manage all or part of your personal budget yourself, including a number of factsheets which you may find useful.

Kids - making it personal: 2
A pack of resources available on the Kids website. All resources are at the bottom of the page for families and professionals.

Making it personal: a family guide to personalisation, personal budgets and education, health and care plans

Young person's guide to personal budgets in England
UK children's charity, Together for Short Lives, has launched a new young person's guide to personal budgets in England, designed to help seriously ill young people to have more choice and freedom in how their care is delivered.

Getting direct payments to purchase social care for your disabled child

Problem solving toolkit
This toolkit aims to support disabled people and carers, as well as their families and advisers, who are encountering difficulties with the statutory agencies in relation to the provision of health, social care and education support services. This toolkit aims to unpick these problems and to develop effective strategies for resolving them.