There are five important things you should know when getting a community care assessment:
1. Your child must meet eligibility criteria to receive support
Before they provide support for people, social services decide who should receive help and who should not – this is called eligibility criteria. According to the government guidelines ‘fair access to social care services' there are four groups of people, each of which need different levels of support. These groups are:
- critical - people who need support all the time
- substantial - people who need support most of the time
- moderate - people who need support with some things
- low - people who live alone and independently but may need support if they are ill.
Generally, only people with critical and substantial needs will get support.
2. A care plan is a legally binding document
This means that the local authority has to provide the services described in the care plan, even if they are having financial difficulties.
Getting the right provision for our son was a struggle, and we quickly learnt how important it is to find out your rights, and more importantly the rights of your child.
3. Your child should be consulted
Social services must make sure that your child can take part in the assessment. They do not have to go if they don't want to, but you are much more likely to get the services you need if they attend. It is also their choice where the assessment will take place.
4. The care plan is your document too
Once the assessment has been carried out, make sure you get a copy of the assessment and the care plan and read both carefully. Take time to think and discuss the assessment with your child, and don't sign anything until you're both sure it's what you want.
5. Carers are also entitled to support
Social services offer a separate assessment for carers known as a carer's assessment. This assessment looks specifically at the needs of the carer and the impact their role is having on their lives. Carers can ask for their own assessment even if the person they are caring for has refused help from social services.
- Read the Mencap guide ‘Understanding carer's assessments'