A teenage girl with a condition that makes it hard for her to communicate can now express her wants and needs thanks to the intervention of a social worker who supported an application for a specialist communication aid through Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children.
And yet, many families with disabled children are missing out on essential care services because they don’t want to involve social workers in their lives.
“There is a common misconception that social workers focus just on protecting children from maltreatment or suspected abuse”, explains Carrick Brown, Senior Manager of Care Services at Newlife.
“However, their role is much broader and encompasses exploring opportunities that can enrich a child’s well-being and development as well as taking into account other factors that impact on the child. This might include access to respite or support groups for carers, all of which can be accessed via a social care assessment of a child and family’s needs.”
Newlife often speak to families who don’t know what social care services are available or what they are entitled to. They are also unaware of how social workers can support their family’s health and wellbeing and includes:
Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes;
Ensuring children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;
Preventing impairment of children’s health and development.
Local authorities have a legal responsibility to help families of disabled children with social care needs as well as their health ones – and an assessment undertaken by social workers can be the first step to being able to access a wide range of help.
Now Newlife has put together a comprehensive guide with information on the sort of services available through social care and how to get them.
Carrick Brown, concludes: “In the case above, as well as supporting an application for specialist equipment for the child, the social worker also helped the family access other support services by requesting a Section 17 Assessment of their needs. This resulted in the family receiving short breaks and direct payments to meet the child’s daily care needs.
“Having the right equipment at the right time can help avoid crises and promote the health and wellbeing of the whole family in the long term.”
To find out more about what Social Care Support is available and how to get it, download our Social Care Revealed document: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/uploads/SocialCare_FINAL.pdf