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Social Care Assessments for Disabled Children

Project start date: February 2015

We (The Council for Disabled Children) were awarded £812k to develop and test new assessment models for disabled children in need of social care services and to improve the experience and outcomes for these young people. The project produced valuable learning for national policy and practice.

Project Summary


This project, led by the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) involved five local authorities (Cornwall Council, London Borough of Bromley, London Borough of Enfield, West Sussex County Council and City of York Council) developing and testing new approaches to assess the needs of disabled children and young people (DYCP) and their families. Parent carers and professionals reported that pre-existing assessment systems were lengthy and disproportionate, especially for DYCP with lower level needs. Our aim was therefore to create new and more streamlined assessment processes for DYCP and their families that embedded co-production. We also aimed to improve family experience by removing barriers that DYCP face in accessing aspects of universal services and creating an equity in relationships between professionals, parent carers and DYCP.

Each local authority utilised the CDC Learning Model, working closely with DCYP, parent carers and professionals to co-produce new assessment approaches to test. CDC’s Learning Model comprised four distinct phases: discover, define, co-design and test. Local authorities were expected to work through each phase sequentially, guided by the model and adapting to local differences where necessary. Each LA tested more than one approach and these approaches were mapped to the solutions in the co-design phase and addressed the issues identified in the discovery phase. New approaches were grouped into five areas: enquiry; referral and assessment processes; volunteer support services; information for parent carers; upskilling and resources for professionals and information and tools for DYCP.


As a result of the project, the local authorities were committed to sustaining the CDC Learning Model approach.

Find out more

Project contact details

Please contact the CDC for further detail

Project evaluators


Project partners

Cornwall Council, London Borough of Bromley, London Borough of Enfield, West Sussex County Council, City of York Council

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