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Local authority services

Local authority services for children and families
Your local authority has responsibilities towards children and their families. For children who have disabilities it must aim to minimise the effects of disability on them and their families, for example by arranging for ‘respite care’ or ‘home care’ to give you a break. It employs occupational therapists who can help with aids and adaptations to your home if these are necessary.
Traditionally, support to families was arranged through the social work department but many local authorities have merged departments so that they are able to provide a more unified service. Some local authorities will have a Children and Families department or it may be linked with the Education Department or part of a wider Community Services Department.
To obtain relevant services you should find out which part of your local authority deals with children’s services and ask them to assess both you and your child. A social worker or occupational therapist will then call on you to identify what help you might need and what can be done to support you.
There are two assessments available although they may both be carried out at the same time. Don’t just ask for one – ask for them both as they build upon each other and will lead to a better picture of your needs being established.
Your local authority must assess children and carers if it is asked to do so. This is the law. The assessment process is very important and can open the door to resources. It can assist you to obtain:
  • some services;
  • a direct payment or an individual budget so you can buy services or employ staff;
  • funding;
  • referrals to other agencies who might be able to help;
  • support when you don’t know where else to go; and
  • information.

Useful links

Family Toolkit
Developed by ENABLE Scotland’s Young Families’ Support Committee to make life a little easier for parents who are looking for information on how to apply for services.

The toolkit includes:

Example of Short Break Letter Request (Word Doc)

Carer's assessment sample letter (Word)

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