What social care support is, how we assess needs and how we provide help.

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 fostered, adopted or lives in residential care

A social care professional can provide practical advice and information that help the family. They might: 

  • do 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 the  help  your child or you may need

How to ask for support

Call the First Response team: 0117 903 6444. Your child's health visitor, doctor or school staff may also suggest a referral or may refer to social care, with your permission.

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 care worker needs to support you and other times they'll do an assessment so that we can look at what your child and family needs.

If your child has a special educational need or disability

If your child has a special educational need or disability, the team will refer you to Disabled Children's services, who may:

  • provide information and advice about support in the local community
  • 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 conclusion of the assessment is that they need support 

There are various ways of getting support, including:

  • arranging for inclusive play/bridging workers to support your child with accessing mainstream play activities in your community 
  • suggesting a one-off carer's grant to support your needs
  • offering you parenting support
  • arranging a short break for your child or your family

What happens in an assessment

An assessment is a way of finding out about you and your family and to identify the support that you may need.

A social worker will complete an 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:

  • teachers
  • doctors 
  • health visitors

What happens after an assessment

The assessment needs to be carried out within 45 days from the point of referral.

The social worker will, with your help, agree a plan of action. This may be:

  • providing some advice 
  • recommending other services
  • agreeing a plan of support 

The child in need plan

The social worker will arrange a family meeting, which includes you, your child and any other professionals that 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 the services are needed
  • 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 get support from adult services when they're 18. 

Moving to adult social care explains what happens during the move to adult services.