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Guide: Getting an assessment and accessing support from the Disabled Children's Service

What is ‘eligibility criteria’?

The combination of help and support families can receive depends on their individual needs. Some families needs can be met through universal services or early help, whereas others might require additional support or specialist support services.

To find out about a family’s needs and how they can be best met, we carry out assessments. This means we talk to you, your child and family to find out what level of support you might need and who should provide that support.

Before we do this, we use eligibility criteria to decide whether you are likely to need support from us and therefore DCS will complete an assessment of your child’s and family’s needs.

Your assessment might show that you don’t need support from our Disabled Children’s Service and by working together we may identify that your child’s support needs can be met from what is known as universal services (services available to everyone) or early help through coordinated family and community networks. If this is the case, we will aim to provide advice and guidance to signpost you to the most appropriate services.

Eligibility for assessment

All disabled children and young people under 18 years old are entitled to an assessment of their needs. This involves gathering information about them and their family to find out what level of support they need. This can be an early help assessment or an assessment by our Disabled Children’s Service.

In Devon, a disabled child or young person is eligible for an assessment from our Disabled Children’s Service if:

  • they are aged 0 – 18 years
  • they live in Devon

and their daily life is substantially affected by one or more of the following:

  • a hearing impairment
  • a visual impairment
  • a learning disability
  • a physical disability
  • a chronic or life-limiting physical illness
  • a significant communication disorder (including autism, which substantially and adversely affects their ability to take part in normal day to day activities)

Parents, carers or any professional involved with the family, as well as the disabled child or young person themselves (providing they are over 16 years of age), can ask for an assessment if they feel that the above criteria apply.