Services for children who need care and support

Prior to April 2016, Section 17(10) Children Act 1989 applied in England and in Wales. Section 17 now applies only in England. It defines a child in need as follows:

(a) he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him of services by a local authority, or (b) his health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for him of such services, or (c) he is disabled.
The law about assessment of needs of children in Wales is now in Parts 3 and 4 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

Part 3 – Assessment of need for care and support

Sections 19-29 Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014; Care and Support Assessment (Wales) Regulations 2015; Part 3 Code of Practice 
There is a duty on the local authority to assess a child who appears to need care and support in addition to, or instead of, the care and support provided by their family. The assessment should include the child’s well-being outcomes as identified by the child (according to their age and understanding) and their parents.  The child must be seen by the assessor and involved, according to their level of understanding.
The procedure is set out in detail in the Part 3 Code.

There is a presumption that a disabled child will have needs under Part 3.  Information on disability needs is here.

The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need is still the basis of any assessment, as modified in the Code of Practice on Part 3 (Annex 2). The relationship between assessment of children in need and of children who may be at risk of harm is covered by Working Together guidance (Chapter 8) and the All-Wales Child Protection Procedures.

Part 4 – Meeting needs for care and support

Sections 37-39 Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014; Care and Support (Eligibility) (Wales) Regulations 2015 and Care and Support (Care Planning (Wales) Regulations 2015; Part 4 Code of Guidance

A child will be eligible for a service if:

  1. the need arises from circumstances such as their age or health
  2. and it relates to their personal well-being outcomes
  3. and it cannot be met by their parents, wider family or community services
  4. and it can only be met by their local authority arranging or providing the service or making direct payments.

If the child is eligible for a service, a Care and Support Plan will be agreed.

In Wales, extra support for families where children may otherwise be at risk of abuse or neglect may be available through referral to local   Integrated Family Support Service Teams. Each local authority also has a Families First programme that is funded to support children and families in poverty.