You can read more about these different types of support below. Please note that the support given to individual children and young people may move between levels as their needs change over time.
All families can access support through universal services, including Family Hubs, GP surgeries, Health Centres, School Nurses, education and universal funding for early years education. You do not need a referral to contact any of these services.
More information about these universal services can be found via the Suffolk Family Information Service – contact 0345 60 800 33
Access to the Early Help Service in Suffolk is via something called the Common Assessment Framework. This aims to understand a family's needs as early as possible and bring services together to offer co-ordinated support. For more information, visit our Early Help section.
After undertaking a Common Assessment Framework or CAF, some children with SEND may be assessed as eligible for a service from the Children In Need Team. An example of this might be a child who needs short-term support from a Social Worker to help them achieve their expected outcomes.
The workers who have undertaken the CAF with you will explain more about what this means and the support that will be available to you and your child if this applies in your case.
Disabled Children and Young People’s Service (DCYP)
Families of disabled children and young people with complex needs requiring a higher level of specialist support may be entitled to input from the Disabled Children and Young People’s Service (DCYP).
This service is responsible for assessing the individual care needs of disabled children and young people. This may include:
- looking at needs relating to care in the home,
- assessment within the home environment,
- support for carers,
- personal budgets,
- advice and equipment from an Occupational Therapist,
- overnight respite style breaks (either within the home or within a short break provision), and
- transition support.
Eligibility and access to assessment and support for Disabled Children and Young People in Suffolk
Suffolk has a graduated approach to support for Disabled Children and Young People in line with the Suffolk Thresholds Matrix.
If your child is deemed to have eligible needs using the threshold matrix, there could be a number of outcomes to help and support you and your child. This can range from support from universal services, which are the services all children may need to access to meet their potential, through to support from a range of agencies following a section 17 child in need assessment.
All disabled children and young people under the age of 18 are able to have a section 17 child in need assessment. The nature of the assessment will be appropriate to their needs. The MASH will use the threshold matrix to support the process and identify where universal, targeted, specialist services are required.
A section 17 child in need assessment will be completed to inform what level of support is required to meet need, where this is requested or where the MASH considers this to be appropriate, and the family agree.
A section 17 child in need assessment identifies if there is a need for Social Care support, or whether other services are appropriate to meet identified needs.
The Disabled Children and Young Peoples Team are a specialised team offering Social Work support to children and young people from age 0-17. The team have a threshold criteria which will be referenced by the MASH and other social work teams internally, to agree when it is appropriate for a child or young person to be allocated to the team. A child or young person with a disability and a presenting social care need, who does not meet the criteria for the Disabled Children and Young Person’s Team, can be supported through the wider children’s social care service.
How do I access the DCYP?
To access the DCYP Service, a referral must be made via Customer First (0808 800 4005) - this can be done by either a parent or a professional. Not all children will be eligible for support from the DCYP Service. Appropriate referrals include children with severe and permanent disabilities/learning difficulties and physical disabilities that significantly impact the child’s ability to access the community.
Once received, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) make the decision whether to undertake an assessment or signpost families to other support services such as Activities Unlimited or the Early Help Team.
If you require further advice, please contact the DCYP Duty Social Worker at Endeavour House (01473 265044), West Suffolk House (01284 758560) or Customer First (0808 800 4005).
Access to Sensory Social Care support
Children with sensory impairments can be referred to the Sensory and Communication Team via Customer First (0808 800 4005) by a parent or a professional.