Accessing specialist services for children with disabilities

Information on specialist services for parents and carers of children with disabilities

Support available

We work with our partners to provide a wide range of services for children with disabilities and their families. This includes short breaks and helping them to access the same services as other children. The short breaks programme has helped us to achieve this.

Hampshire Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) provides information, advice and support for parents of children and young people from birth to 25 years and children and young people themselves. The service operates to nationally agreed service principles, including impartiality of information and empowerment of parents, children and young people.

Hampshire Parent Carer Network helps parents and carers take part in the design of services.

Find out more about services available and how to access them in the short breaks statement

Specialist services available

Children with disabilities and complex needs may need specialist services from Children’s Services, including:

  • social work support
  • overnight short breaks
  • the family link scheme
  • support within and outside the home

A social worker will assess your child to see if they are eligible for specialist services using the criteria below. The criteria help to ensure that the families in most need receive help.

Most short breaks activities such as playschemes, community buddies and other activities can be accessed by registering for your Gateway Card without the need for an assessment
Find out if your child is eligible for specialist services

Read the criteria below. If you feel your child is eligible, contact us to request an initial assessment of need. This will involve a telephone call and possible visit from Children’s Services.

Phone 0300 555 1384


Eligibility criteria

We use the following statement and criteria to decide which children are eligible for specialist services.

In order to achieve outcomes appropriate to their potential and as a result of their disability, the child requires total or substantial support, appropriate to their age, from another person, which is not available within the family network.

The child should also meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • they use specialist equipment for mobility
  • they require support for all basic self care functions when no longer age appropriate
  • they need constant supervision throughout the day and for prolonged periods at night, when no longer age appropriate
  • they have behaviour that is a direct function of their disability that poses serious risk to self and or others, including self- harm
  • they have communication needs which, without support, severely affects personal safety, i.e. is deaf, blind or without speech
  • they have been assessed as having either of the following conditions, which results in significant risk of self-harm or harm to others:
    • Profound and Multiple Learning Disability (PMLD)
    • Severe Learning Disability (SLD) and/or Global Developmental Delay with challenging behaviour

If you would like us to send you a copy of the eligibility criteria, contact us.

Other factors that will influence assessments

  • Carer has physical or mental health problems
  • Actual or potential risk to health or safety of carer
  • Carer suffers sleep deprivation on a regular basis due to needs of the disabled child through the night
  • Child’s behaviour is a serious risk to self or others
  • Child has been / or is the subject of a Child Protection Plan
  • Other person(s) with disabilities or long-term health needs in the household who needs support
  • Sole carer and has a limited support network
  • Significant pressures in the family such as domestic violence
  • Risk to the child because of the physical environment
  • Risk of the disabled child's care breaking down
  • Without support the child is likely to need a specialist residential or educational placement
  • The family has difficulties in meeting financial commitments
  • There are stressful family relationships which may be harmful to disabled child
  • Impact on siblings eg, needs of other children in the family at risk

Factors taken into consideration when assessing your eligibility

The mediation process

Access to Specialist Services for Disabled Children (Children’s Departmental procedure 03/17) - some of the specific information about services in this document has now changed. See the short breaks service statement for more detail.

Direct Payments

Parents or carers of a child or young person with disabilities or additional needs can get money to buy their own services, instead of the Council arranging services for them. This money is called Direct Payments. Some parents using Direct Payments find that the care provided is more convenient and flexible.

To get Direct Payments, your child will need to have a social work assessment. You can then buy services from a care provider such as a private agency, voluntary organisation or nursery. You can also hire carers directly.

You will need to keep a record of what money you spend.

Further information about Direct Payments

Further information

Children's Services

Phone 0300 555 1384


Hampshire Local Offer