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Specialist services for children with a disability and their families

Specialist services are available for children, young people and their families when their needs cannot be fully met by universal and/or targeted services.  The need for specialist services may have been identified via the completion of a Common Assessment (CAF).  If a CAF has not been completed it may be appropriate that this is considered initially prior to specialist services being accessed.

If a request is accepted for specialist services, an assessment of need will be undertaken by a qualified social worker within the Complex Needs Service.  This is a holistic assessment that will involves communicating with the child/young person, parents and all the professionals that are involved with the family.  The assessment will identify the needs of the child, young person and their family and how these can be met.  The assessment may include recommendations about types of services that could assist in meeting the identified needs.  Examples of some of the services that may be recommended include:

  • Direct payments
  • Individual support worker
  • Overnight short breaks in a family placement setting (LINK), residential setting or within the family home

All services are reviewed with children, young people and their families at least every 6 months to ensure that they are meeting identified needs.

If you would like to find out more about specialist services please speak to your lead professional (if there is a CAF in place).  If there is not a CAF and you would find this beneficial please follow this link.  If you would like to make a request for specialist services please telephone the Contact Centre on 0113 2224403. 


Frequently asked questions

What is a specialist service

Specialist services are provided to children, young people and their families when universal and targeted services are unable to meet their needs.  An example would be when a regular overnight break is needed.

All services are reviewed every 6 months to ensure that the child/young persons and their families needs are being met

What age does my child have to be to access a specialist service

Specialist services are available for children aged 0-18 via the complex needs service within Children’s Leeds (LINK).  Specialist services 18+ are provided via Adult Social care.

What is a direct payment

Direct Payment is a sum of money paid by Leeds City Council (LCC) to parents/carers who have parental responsibility for a disabled child. The Direct Payment enables them to purchase support for their disabled child/young person instead of it being provided by LCC.

In some cases you can have a proportion of services arranged by LCC and have a Direct Payment to pay for the rest of the support package. This will however be dependent on the outcome of your child’s assessment.
Direct Payments can be used to employ a Personal Assistant to meet the needs of your child.

What is an Individual Support Worker (ISW)

An Individual Support Worker (ISW) is a person that is employed via an agency and funded by Leeds City Council.  The ISW will provide 1-1 care for your child for a specified period of time.  This may be on a regular day each week depending on your child’s needs.  The ISW may work with your child on specific areas, for example their independence skills which at the same time provides the carer with a short break.  The ISW may work with the child/young person in the home or outside of the home depending on the needs of the child/young person and their family.