In Lancashire there are well developed arrangements in place to ensure that children and young people with additional needs, and their families receive advice, help or support.
The identification of a child's additional needs whether medical or social in nature will usually be identified from an early age by the normal assessment arrangements provided by universal services. These are services that are available to all and normally provided locally by the Health Authority, the Local Authority or voluntary organisations.
For some children and young people a more specialist assessment of their needs may be required in order that they can access appropriate services.
Children identified as having particular difficulties from a very early age through routine developmental checks by for example, a paediatrician, a general practitioner or a health visitor. The child may subsequently be referred to a Child development Centre for further assessment and intervention. Where concerns persist a referral can be made by the child’s paediatrician to an IDSS Early Years Educational Psychologist or social worker for further assessment and advice.
Making an assessment.
For some children and young people and their families, it may be necessary for their needs to be met by more than one type of universal service. In these circumstances it may be necessary for a coordinated and holistic approach to meeting these needs to be undertaken by services in order to provide advice and help.
In these circumstances it is usual for the agency raising a concern to complete a Common Assessment Framework Form (CAF), to gather information which could be shared with others in order that needs can be properly assessed and appropriate arrangements to support and advise can be given.
Team Around the Child
Once a CAF has been completed a "Team Around the Child" (TAC) meeting should be convened in order to plan what needs to be done and by whom in order to provide the help and support that is needed. A lead professional will be identified and will be responsible for coordinating information from various agencies and keeping families informed.
The TAC meeting may conclude that needs can be met at the universal level and no further specialist involvement or assessment is necessary. However, in a small minority of cases it will be necessary for more specialist assessments to be considered in order that more complex health, education or social needs can be met by services.
Children and Young People with Significant and Complex Needs
In a very small number of cases it may be necessary for more specialist assessments to be carried out for complex social, health or educational reasons, or any combination of these.
For these children and young pepole the Inclusion and Disability Support Service may decide that it is necessary for significant social or educational reasons to undertake a specialist assessment of a child or young persons additional needs. This will usually be done where it is clear that the additional needs of the individual child or young person are likely to be so complex that cannot be met by universal services alone and specialist services will need to be provided.