Social care support for disabled children and young people

Education, health and sports and leisure facilities are required by law to make reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of children and young people with disabilities. 

However some children with SEND and their families will need additional support and intervention from Northamptonshire County Council social care services through a formal social care assessment.


The support services listed below do not require a formal social care assessment.


Parents and carers or young people can register with the Special Needs Index (SNIX), the local authority disabled children’s register.

 Registration with SNIX helps us to plan services for children with special educational needs and disabilities. Families who register their child will receive termly newsletters which provide information about special educational needs and disability services, resources, training, early years, groups, clubs and activities.

Register with SNIX

Northamptonshire Carers (including young carers)

This service is provided by an external agency based in Wellingborough. They offer support and advice for parents and carers of children with disabilities. They also offer a support network for young people who themselves may be providing a caring role, either for a sibling or parent. You can contact the service and make a referral using the link below:

Contact Northamptonshire Carers 

Short breaks

A variety of short breaks can be accessed by parents ranging from universal and targeted Saturday football clubs to music groups.  There is no need for a referral into any universally available provision such as clubs, sports groups, and leisure facilities. Some of them recommend an assessment by the service provider, or a referral by a professional. 

Note - Specialist respite care (for example run by the NHS) may only be available via social care referral.

There are numerous groups run by volunteers and charities for children with disabilities. These details can be found on our Local Offer using the link below. 

Find local short breaks

Parents and carers are also able to apply for Personal Independent Payments (over 18) or Disability Living Allowance (for children) and this can be used to fund short breaks for their sons and daughters, especially the universal services in tier one. The local authority also commissions external providers to make youth groups and holiday clubs available. The details of these will be found on the Local Offer.

The support services listed below for disabled children and young people are only available through a social care referral. A successful referral does not necessarily mean that a child or young person will receive one of these services, but they will ensure that they are provided with the most appropriate service provision that best meets their needs.

Specialist services (known as Tier Four) are available to individuals who have additional needs beyond targeted services such as:

  • home support
  • domiciliary care
  • direct payments
  • overnights
  • short break respite care
  • sessional support

These are also listed on the Local Offer but will need an assessment by the Disabled Children's Team, in most cases, to access the support.

Disabled Children's Team

The Disabled Children’s Team is a statutory service that focuses on the most vulnerable disabled children and young people in Northamptonshire.

The team ensures that children and young people with substantial and long term disability and complex health needs are given every opportunity to meet their full potential, promote their quality of life and are safeguarded from harm.

The Disabled Children’s Team provides a social model of disability that challenges and seeks to remove the barriers to children and young people with disabilities and thus enable all children and young people to have access and opportunities to reach their full potential.

Therefore children and young people with some disabilities who do not meet the criteria for this specialist support may require services from other tier four services or lower tier services to support customer ability to manage family life.

A referral to the Disabled Children’s Team is made through the MASH (contact details above) and will be for a Child in Need as per the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (CSDPA).

Adult Services 

Children’s services must continue to be provided until adult provision has started or a decision is made that the young person’s needs do not meet the eligibility criteria for adult care and support.

The transition from children’s to adult services should take place at a time that is appropriate for the individual. This is particularly important where young people’s assessed needs do not meet eligibility criteria for adult services. Transition to adult services for those with EHC plans should begin at an appropriate annual review (from Year 9 onwards)  and in many cases should be a staged process over several months or years.

Where young people aged 18 or over continue to have EHC plans under the Children and Families Act 2014, and they make the move to adult care and support, the care and support aspects of the EHC plan will be provided under the Care Act. The statutory care and support plan must form the basis of the ‘care’ element of the EHC plan.

Under the Care Act 2014 all young people going through the transition process are entitled to independent advocacy.

Northamptonshire Youth Offending Service (NYOS)

NYOS is a multi-agency partnership between:

  • Northamptonshire County Council
  • Police
  • Probation Service
  • NHS
  • Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT)

Its principal aim is to reduce offending and re-offending by children and young people.

How to request social care support

Any referrals for social care support for children or young people need to made through Northamptonshire's Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

Report a concern

Professionals requesting support will also be asked to follow the Thresholds and Pathways procedure. See Early Help advice for professionals on the Children's Trust website.