Help To Navigate Social Care

10 May 2024

How we supported Sarah through a long and complex social care appeal process.

Help To Navigate Social Care

10 May 2024

How we supported Sarah through a long and complex social care appeal process.

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John Furlong from our Legal Rights Service explains how we guided and supported Sarah through the complex and traumatic process of obtaining a social care assessment for her son Adam and a parent carers’ needs assessment for herself.

“Sarah contacted us because she was having difficulty getting social care support for her 9 year-old son Adam, who had a diagnosis of autism with aspects of pathological demand avoidance, sensory processing disorder and hypermobility.

Adam attended a mainstream school and was undergoing an Education, Health and Care needs assessment. The assessment had been secured after a successful appeal to the SEND Tribunal a few months earlier.

Sarah had two other young children and was suffering from long COVID. She worked part-time and her husband worked full time. Sarah requested a social care assessment for Adam and a parent carer’s needs assessment for herself. After a delay, the local authority assessed Adam’s needs and decided he did not meet the threshold for support and that his needs could be met from ordinarily available services set out in the council’s Local Offer. It did not carry out a parent carer’s needs assessment as was required by law.

Sarah complained to the local authority. It agreed that it was at fault for the delay and for not carrying out a parent carer’s needs assessment. The local authority carried out further social care assessments but again concluded that Adam’s and Sarah’s needs didn’t meet the eligibility threshold and no statutory support was required. The local authority issued an EHC plan but Sarah did not think it was adequate and appealed to the SEND Tribunal about education and social care provision.

During the course of the appeal the local authority made Fabricated and Induced Illness allegations against Sarah which led to a child protection conference being held. A few weeks later, the council concluded that there was no evidence to justify the allegations and they were dropped.

A few months later the SEND Tribunal decided that the family had significant social care needs and recommended 14 hours of support per week, as well as additional educational provision. The Tribunal strongly criticised the local authority for not understanding Adam’s needs or how they impacted on his behaviour. The local authority accepted the Tribunal’s recommendations in full.

We supported Sarah on her long and traumatising journey including providing information on the complaints process and social care aspects of the Tribunal appeal”.

Sarah told us: “I can’t thank … Cerebra enough, not just my family but many other families in [the local authority] have benefited as a result of the advice that Cerebra gave which allowed us to challenge the LA’s unlawful policies.”

Resources for you

Take a look at our free Parent Guides and Factsheets on Carers’ Assessments:

Social Care in England

Social Care in Wales

Carers’ Assessments in England Factsheet

Carers’ Assessments in Wales Factsheet

Read more about our Legal Rights Service and the resources we have to help you here.

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