Social Care Assessments
Social care uses a range of assessments to identify the strengths and needs of children, young people and their families.
Children and Families Assessment
The Children and Families Assessment is used to consider whether children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are eligible to receive a social care service. The assessment process refers to the Effective Support Windscreen which illustrates how Universal, Additional, Intensive and Specialist support are made available at each level of need. Click on the Windscreen below to find information about what the different levels of need might look like.
The Children and Families Assessment also reviews the support needs of Parent Carers and any other children in the family who provide care.
You can request an assessment by contacting the Children and Families Hub on 0345 603 7627 or on the online portal www.essexeffectivesupport.org.uk/
Essex County Council has a duty to carry out a Transition Assessment for a young person or carer, in order to help them plan for adult life, if they are likely to have needs once they, or the child they care for, turn 18.
There are 3 groups of people who have a right to a Transition Assessment:
- Young people, under 18, with care and support needs who are approaching transition to adulthood
- Young carers, under 18, who are themselves preparing for adulthood
- Adult carers of a young person who is preparing for adulthood
Essex County Council must assess the needs of a Parent Carer where there is likely to be a continued need for support after the young person they care for turns 18. The timing of this assessment will depend on when it is of significant benefit to you and your family, although this will generally be at the point when their needs for care and support as an adult can be predicted reasonably confidently, but will also depend on a range of other factors.
A Transition Assessment will also be carried out for any other children in your family who have been identified as Young Carers when they themselves turn 18 and are preparing for adulthood.
Transition Assessments are carried out under the Care Act 2014.
Care Act Assessment
The Care Act Assessment is used to find out if an adult aged 18 or over is eligible for a social care service. The criteria to receive a service as an adult are different to the criteria for children. Therefore, anybody aged 18 or over has the right to request an assessment.
In Essex, where a young person receives a service as a child, we call this a Transition Assessment and this will be carried out by their existing social worker.
During the assessment the social worker will talk to you as well as other family members and carers about what you can do for yourself and what you need help with; this includes things like whether you can wash yourself or make yourself a sandwich as well as whether you can get out and about by yourself.
The Care Act 2014 introduced new, simplified eligibility criteria which should make the assessment process more transparent. You can view this by clicking the diagram below:
Adults who receive a social care service sometimes have to pay something towards their care. Therefore, at the age 18 a member of the Financial Assessment Benefits Advice (FABA) team will carry out a Financial Assessment. This will determine if you need to pay anything and how much this will be. During the assessment you will talk about what benefits you are claiming to make sure that you receive your full entitlement.
Mental Capacity Assessment
It is always assumed that your son or daughter has mental capacity. That means that they understand the impact of their decisions. When they are 16, if there is reasonable cause to doubt their capacity then their social care worker will carry out a Mental Capacity Assessment. Essex County Council policy states that a Mental Capacity Assessment must be undertaken by two registered professionals.
The social care worker should tell you why they believe your son or daughter lacks capacity. This might be around their understanding of money or contracts e.g. signing a tenancy agreement, or their ability to make decisions about their health care and the ability to keep themselves safe.
If the assessment indicates that your son or daughter has difficulty understanding financial matters then you can apply to the Department for Work and Pensions to become their Appointee. This gives you the power to deal with any benefits they may receive on their behalf. It does not mean you can choose how to spend their money.
If you feel your son or daughter needs more help than an Appointeeship allows, then you will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become their Deputy. A Deputyship enables you to make decisions on behalf of an adult regarding their finances, where they live and their personal welfare. The application process takes several months so if you think that your son or daughter would not be able to sign a tenancy agreement, for example, you should apply before they start to look for accommodation.
You can find more information about Deputyships and how to apply at www.gov.uk/become-deputy