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Direct payments for disabled children

Direct payments, which allow you to arrange care and services yourself instead of receiving them directly from your local council, can be made to parents and carers aged 16 or over. This includes people with parental responsibility for a disabled child.

If you have parental responsibility for a disabled child

Following an assessment, direct payments can be used for a variety of services which offer your child stimulation, new experiences and independence. These include:

  • short breaks
  • nursery placement providing specialist support for you child
  • assistance to attend an activity, for example a youth club
  • personal care

Employing somebody to provide support for your child

Where agreed following an assessment, you can use direct payments to employ a person to provide your child with support.

Local councils can provide guidance about safe practice in employing carer-workers to work with your child. You can ask your council to help carry out a number of checks, including a police check to ensure the safety of your child. As the employer, the responsibility remains with you.

Child care services and holiday time

As a parent, or someone with parental responsibility, you should be supported to stay in work, or to return to work, if this is what you want to do.

If you have been assessed as needing help from social services, direct payments may help you make sure you have the right type of after-school or holiday provision to meet the particular needs of your child.

Further information on the 'Every Child Matters' website

The 'Every Child Matters' website has a parents' guide to direct payments for disabled children as well as a list of answers to frequently asked questions.

Specific queries

If you have an immediate enquiry about your own situation, your local council is the best place to start; each council implements direct payments in its own way. They will also be able to put you in touch with local support services.

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