Social Work Services for Disabled Children and Young People and Their Families: Assessment and Eligibility

Date: 29th October 2012
Category: Children with disabilities, Family Environment and Alternative Care
Author: Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People

The report was commissioned after the Commissioner was alerted to the concerns of families of disabled children and young people who said they perceived a decrease in access to services provided by some local authorities.

The Commissioner was interested to find out whether this was in any way connected to a change in eligibility criteria for these services. He initiated research looking into how local authorities make decisions about offering services to disabled children and young people and whether there had been a change in how they make these decisions over the last five years.

While the report does not confirm a reduction in budgets for these services it highlights an increased number and complexity of referrals. This suggests local authorities in Scotland are having to provide more services for children and young people with complex needs without an associated increase in budgets and staffing levels.

The Commissioner's office is now working on follow-up research to complement the findings of the report and to get a fuller understanding of the situation across Scotland. As part of this, disabled children and their families will be interviewed and their views sought to find out the extent of the problem from their perspective.

This will help to establish a more complete picture and go some way to understanding why they are describing reduced access to much needed services.