A guide for kinship carers about finding childcare for children with disabilities or special educational needs.
Support for children with disabilities
If you are a kinship carer for a disabled child, find out about the help and support your family is entitled to. It could take the form of social care, direct payments, benefits or an EHC plan.
Many children in kinship care will have experienced trauma and loss while in the care of their parents. In the survey we conducted in 2021, 62% of the kinship carers who responded told us that their child had long-term physical or mental health needs, but only 33% of families had received an official diagnosis. It’s possible that your family may need help and support to meet the needs of the child you care for.
Your local council has a duty to assess your family’s suitability for social care (under the Children Act 1989). If the child you care for is disabled, you may need practical support and/or personal care at home and elsewhere.
To find out whether the child you care for is entitled to social care, or if you are as their carer, contact your council (GOV.UK) for a needs assessment. Or search for ‘Local Offer’ on your local council’s website.
What kind of services fall under social care?
- Practical help at home (eg from a carer)
- Adjustments at home (GOV.UK)
- Travel to and from school (GOV.UK)
- Support with schooling
- Organised trips and short-term care (GOV.UK)
Contact, the charity for families with disabled children, has this useful guide to social care for families.
Education, health and care plans
Your child could get an education, health and care (EHC) plan if they have complex needs or need additional help at nursery or school. An EHC plan is designed to state and support the needs of young people with disabilities up to the age of 25. In England, you, your health or educational provider can request an EHC plan. In Wales, the process is different.
Your family may be eligible for financial support from your local council or charities, for example, with transport to and from school.
If you as a kinship carer and the disabled child you care for qualify for financial help, you can choose to receive direct payments from your council. Direct payments allow you to arrange the help you need for your child and pay for it with the budget you receive.
Support from charities
Family Fund offers grants to families with disabled children.
Search for charitable grants on Turn 2 Us.
Disability Living Allowance
You may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance (GOV.UK) (DLA) for children under 16 who need extra looking after or have difficulty walking.
The Motability Scheme (GOV.UK) allows you to lease a car if your child is 3 or over and receives the higher rate of the DLA or the enhanced rate of the Personal Independence Payment on the grounds of mobility.
Help for carers
Raising a child in kinship care can be tough, and caring for a disabled child can bring extra challenges. It’s important for you to get support as a carer.
- You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance (GOV.UK).
- Carers UK is a charity that helps make life better for carers.
- The NHS guide to caring for children and young people contains useful practical information.
- Snap Cymru supports inclusive education for children and young people with special educational needs, additional learning needs and disabilities in Wales.
- Our Kinship groups connect peers with one another – find a group near you.
Moving from children’s social care to adult’s social care
Once a child with a long-term health condition turns 18, they will move from children’s social care to adult social care. Typically a child will transition between the two social care services between the ages of 16 and 18.