Why are we carrying out this survey?

The purpose of a ‘Child in Need’ assessment is to gather enough information to decide what care and support needs to be provided for a disabled child and their family.

Cerebra receives a significant number of enquiries from families about child in need assessments. The object of this survey is to obtain the views of parent carer support organisations about how well assessments are carried out in their geographic area highlighting things that are done well and things that could be improved / changed.

Some families have informed us that practitioners without any experience or knowledge of disability are conducting Child in Need assessments for disabled children. They are also often heavily focused on child protection issues to determine whether the child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm rather than the child’s (and the family’s) disability related needs. We have received reports from families in England that the assessment process is intrusive, insensitive and distressing. A key objective of this research is to determine whether these concerns are isolated or representative of a more deep-seated and widespread problem.

The survey responses will be anonymised and then analysed by our Legal Entitlements and Problem-solving (LEaP) Project Research Team under the supervision of Professor Luke Clements, Cerebra Professor of Social Justice at Leeds University.

The findings of this research will be published in the Spring of 2021. Previous research reports of this kind produced by the LEaP Project can be accessed at https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/45/cerebra_pro_bono_research_programme .

If you know of any other parent carer led organisations which support disabled children and their families and who you think would be interested in completing the survey, please feel free to share it with them.

The survey has just eight questions.

For any further information please email Derek Tilley at derekt@cerebra.org.uk

The survey will close on 31 August 2020.

Question Title

* 1. Which is the social services authority your group has most dealings with? If there is more than one, please name them all and (if possible) list the one with which most contact is had, first.

The following questions are based on the experience parents of disabled children have when approaching their local authority for support to help meet the needs of their child:

Question Title

* 2. If you consider that the authority responds to parental requests of this kind by focusing on the child’s disability-related needs please answer ‘Yes’.

If you consider that the authority’s response is primarily concerned with the issues of child protection (i.e. investigating potential abuse and/or neglect) please answer ‘No’.

If you consider that neither answer is correct – please answer ‘Neither’.

In all cases, please provide any comments/additional information you think relevant in the box below:

Question Title

* 3. Do you consider that, in general, getting the authority to carry out an assessment of a child’s disability-related needs is:

Question Title

* 4. Are families routinely told about the right to have a ‘parent carer’ assessment?

When the authority carries out an assessment of a disabled child’s needs:

Question Title

* 5. Is the assessment usually undertaken by a social worker with specific training in the needs of disabled children and their families or by a generic ‘child-in-need’ social worker or someone else?

Question Title

* 6. What aspects of the assessment process do parents of disabled children generally report as being well done (i.e. in terms of focusing on the needs of the child and the family for support)?

Question Title

* 7. What aspects of the assessment do parents of disabled children generally report as being problematical (i.e. in terms of focusing on the needs of the child and the family for support):

Question Title

* 8. If you have any other relevant comments that you think will be of interest to us please could you put them in the comment box below: