Social care support for children and families
What is social care support?
Children's social care support can provide help to children and their parents if the child:
- needs support with maintaining their health or development
- has a disability
- is in need of protection
- is unable to live with their family and has been adopted, is living with foster carers or lives in residential care
A social care professional can provide practical advice and information that helps the family. They might:
- complete an assessment of your child's and family's needs
- provide immediate help
- give you information about other support organisations that could help
- involve other professionals when assessing and providing the help your child or you may need
You can find help for you and your family through our Family Partnership Zones without going through social care support. This is where professionals come together to work with and support you and your family.
How to ask for support
Call our Children's Advice and Duty service to ask for support.
Other people may also suggest a referral or may refer your child to social care, with your permission, including:
- your child's health visitor
- your doctor
- school staff
- other professionals working with your family
You can also refer your child yourself.
The team will ask you about the difficulty you're having and how it's affecting your child and family. They'll offer immediate advice about which services might be able to help you.
In some cases, a social worker will need to support you and other times they'll do an assessment so that we can look at what you child and family needs.
Social care if your child has a disability
If your child has a disability the team will refer you to our children who are disabled team who may:
- arrange for a social worker to visit and complete an assessment with your child
- allocate your child to the most relevant social care team if the assessment shows they need support
Find out more on our children who are disabled webpage.
What happens in an assessment
An assessment is a way of finding out about your child, you and your family. It also identifies the support that you may need.
A social worker completes the assessment. The assessment involves collecting information about your child and family.
We may ask other professionals who know you and your child well for information about your child and family. This may include:
- health visitors
- childcare providers
What happens after an assessment
The assessment needs to be carried out within 45 days from the point of referral.
The social worker will agree a plan of action with your help. This may be:
- providing advice
- recommending other services
- agreeing a plan of support
The child in need plan
If the outcome of the assessment says it's necessary, the social worker will arrange a family meeting which includes:
- your child
- any other professionals who need to be involved
Everyone involved with your family agrees a child in need plan which gives details of:
- what services will be provided
- how long you need the services
- what we hope to achieve by providing the services
- the date the plan will be reviewed
How young people move to adult social care
If your child has had support from children's social care workers, they may be able to get support from adult social care when they turn 18.
Our preparing for adulthood page explains what happens during the move to adult services.