Health and Wellbeing for Children with SEND

Get advice on what to do if you are worried about the health and wellbeing of a child with SEND.

If you are worried about any aspect of a child or young person’s health and well being you can contact

  • Health Visitor for children under 5 years old;
  • School Nursing Service for children in school;
  • General Practitioner (GP);
  • Local pharmacy;
  • NHS walk in centres;
  • NHS 111 for out of hours advice; or
  • NHS 999 or Accident and Emergency for urgent assistance.

Find information and locations for GP surgeries, hospitals and other health services.

North Yorkshire Connect has a list of community services that may also be able to offer support and advice.

If you are new to the area and have had previous health involvement where you used to live then you can sign up with your GP and explain this too them and they can access the right services for you. Your previous providers can also refer directly to specialist services. Contact details for these services are given below.

North Yorkshire has a Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) who is responsibility for making sure that health providers are fulfilling their obligations under the Children and Families Act 2014. The DCO is employed by the Clinical Commissioning Group or CCG’s.

What happens next?

Following an assessment of your child’s needs, referrals may be made to other services. These services will then consider if they are best placed to meet your child’s needs. 

Services available

Harrogate District NHS Foundation Trust

  • 0-19 years Healthy Child Team, health visiting and school nursing services. This is a universal service as it is provided for all children and young people.
  • Specialist Children’s Services, this is a specialist service for children and young people with additional health needs and/ or disabilities.

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

  • 0-19 years Healthy Child Team, health visiting and school nursing services. This is a universal service as it is available for all children and young people.
  • Specialist Children’s Services, this is a specialist service for children and young people with additional health needs and/ or disabilities.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services a specialist service for children and young people experiencing mental health difficulties.
  • Learning Disability Child and Adolescent Mental health Services a specialist service for children and young people with a learning disability and experiencing mental health difficulties.

 Airedale and Craven Hospital

  • Specialist Children’s Services, this is a specialist service for children and young people with additional health needs and/ or disabilities.

You or your GP can also access North Yorkshire Connect to explore other community based support in your local area.

If you want to explore the full extent of the services in your area then please visit your local CCG web page.

Who are specialist services and what do they do?

Specialist services all have their own referral criteria that need to be met in order to have an assessment.  The GP will refer to the service and they will look to see if that criterion has been met. If you want to know what that criteria is you can contact the service and ask for it.

Specialist Childrens Services

Specialist Childrens Services provide a range of services dependant on which area you live in but they all have close links to both therapy and medical professionals. Even if they don’t all sit within the same building or service they work closely together to provide a holistic service. You will need a referral from your GP to access this service. Professionals include:

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Paediatric Consultants
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Clinical Psychology  

This is not exhaustive and is organised in response to the area you live in so it’s worth checking your CCG website to understand fully what is provided.

Healthy Child team

This is a service that is 0-19. The North Yorkshire service is provided by HDFT and they are mostly based within local GP practices. Professionals include:

  • Health visitors (0-5 only)
  • School Nursing service
  • Immunisations team

Children’s Continuing Care assessments

All children and young people have access to NHS services but sometimes their health needs can be so complex they cannot be met by universal or specialist services alone. These needs can arise due to accident, disability or illness.

These services include services provided by; GP practices, hospitals, community services already commissioned by the local clinical commissioning group or NHS England. If additional health support is needed this is called Childrens Continuing Care.

The service is Nurse led and the process involves three stages: assessment, decision making and development of a package of care. The team uses the National Framework for Children and Young Peoples Continuing Care.

Referrals can be made by any professional working with a child or young person and their family e.g. social worker, community nurse, GP, hospital discharge planning nurse and an initial checklist is completed.

Consent is obtained by the referrer and checklist is considered alongside the EHCP (if there is one) and reports from any specialists involved in the child’s care.

The Continuing Care Nurse will make a decision based on all the information provided if an initial assessment should be undertaken to assess for eligibility for continuing care.

If a child is eligible a package of care is then arranged and the best way of managing it is discussed with the family e.g. Personal Health Budget.

If a professional working with a family is considering making a referral they are encouraged to call or email the team to discuss 0300 3038674 or email The team is part of the multidisciplinary integrated team supporting children, young people and their families.

Specialist equipment

Your child may need specialist equipment in school to support their access to education. Some equipment is funded through school and some can be provided. If you think your child needs specialist equipment at school then speak to your SENCO or your health professional and they will refer you to the right process.

My child has a learning disability

If your child has a diagnosis of a learning disability they will be eligible to be part of the Transforming Care Programme. This is a programme designed to link health, education and social care at a high level to improve services for young people and their families.

If your child is 14 or over and has a diagnosis of a learning disability they are entitled a learning disability health check from your GP. This health check should be completed every year.  It is designed to be a full review of your child’s needs so that any health need can be identified at the earliest opportunity and the right action taken. 

As your child enters adulthood your GP will be your main point of contact which is very different to being in children’s services. However, having that relationship with your GP can help to navigate the adult health world and access the right services at the right time.

My child has Autism

If you have just received a diagnosis of autism it can be a very daunting time. If your child is struggling with things in their daily life your GP can help to either refer to one of the specialist services for an assessment and intervention or can signpost to one of the community services within the region. 

If you feel your child may have Autism then go to your GP and explain the situation to them. Your GP can refer your child for an Autism assessment to the relevant local provider, or can signpost to one of the community services within the region. Further information on the local providers can be found on the CCG website.

You may also be able to access the following services for advice, information and support which includes the Healthy Child Programme (Health Visitors and School Nurses).

There are also charities which provide useful information and support around children’s behaviour issues:

There is also the North Yorkshire Connect website which is a directory of services across the county.

Mental Health Services for Children and Young People

There are a range of services available in North Yorkshire to support children and young people’s mental health.

BUZZ US Text Messaging Service

BUZZ US is a text messaging service for young people aged 11-18 experiencing mental health and wellbeing difficulties. You can text BUZZ US on 07520 631168 about any mental health or wellbeing concerns such as  bullying, anxiety, self-esteem, eating problems, low mood or stress. You will receive support from a Wellbeing Worker within 1 working day.

Support in Schools

There is lots of support available within schools and colleges. From school based counsellors to school nurses to Compass BUZZ training for school staff. To find out what is available in your school, speak to your teacher or Headteacher.

Compass REACH

Compass Reach is a confidential service for 9-19 year olds in North Yorkshire who need support with issues related to drugs, alcohol, mental health and/or sexual health.

They are a small team of qualified nurses and practitioners who are there to support young people aged 9 to 19 (or up to 25 years old if you have special educational needs or disabilities) to lead happier, healthier lives.

The service is free, confidential and voluntary – plus they will meet you somewhere that you feel comfortable and safe.

For more information on the service visit the website or call 01609 777 662 or the freephone number 0800 008 7452.

Urgent mental health support

If you are in a mental health crisis, then you can contact your local CAMHS Crisis and Intensive Home Treatment (IHT) Service on the numbers below. The service is available 7 days a week.