SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
A parent carer needs assessment aims to give parents/carers a chance to tell Children's Services about the things that could make looking after their disabled child easier. The assessment focuses on the parent / carer and their needs, and seeks to identify sources of support.
Parent Carers Needs Assessments are for parents/carers looking after a disabled child and for whom they have Parental Responsibility for. This includes non-birth parents, such as relatives who have gained Parental Responsibility for a child through a legal process.
The Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 remains in force for other family members who are providing care to a disabled child. For example, a grandparent, aunt or uncle who provide care, but does not have Parental Responsibility for the child.
If this is the case, carers may be able to access assessments if they are providing substantial and regular care (usually defined as 35 hours or more care per week).
The Children and Families Act 2014 amended the Children Act 1989 (sections17ZD, 17ZE12 and 17ZF). Under it, local authorities must assess parent carers if:
- 'it appears to the authority that the parent carer may have needs for support';
Or if they
- 'receive a request from the parent carer to assess their need for support'.
The Act also says that:
A parent carer's needs assessment must include an assessment of whether it is appropriate for the parent carer to provide, or continue to provide care for the disabled child, in the light of the parent carer's needs for support, other needs and wishes. (Children and Families Act 2014 section17ZD (9))
They must also consider:
- 'the well-being of the parent carer';
- 'the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the disabled child cared for and any other child for whom the parent carer has parental responsibility'.
The Wellbeing Duty (Children and Families Act 2014 section17ZD (10))
This 'wellbeing' duty is an important addition. It means local authorities must consider a person's:
- Personal dignity and respect;
- Physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing;
- Protection from abuse and neglect;
- Control by the individual over day-to-day life;
- Participation in work, education, training or recreation;
- Social and economic wellbeing;
- Domestic, family, and personal relationships;
- Suitability of living accommodation;
- Contribution to society.
This chapter was updated in March 2022.