Disabled Children's Team (Northumberland County Council)

The Children's Services Directorate has certain responsibilities for disabled children and young people who live in Northumberland. All the Children's Services teams provide services to children with special needs and their families. Those with more complex and profound disabilities are supported by the Disabled Children Team. The team also provides a service for hearing impaired children and young people, and commissions a specialist service for children with visual impairments.



Who to contact

01670 516131

Where to go

County Hall
NE61 2EF

Local Offer

Local Offer Description
  1. What does your service do?

The Disabled Children Team aims:

  • Promote the care of children in their own families and communities by providing an assessed package of support, if appropriate; through the completion of an assessment.
  • Minimise the impact of the disability by limiting the social barriers that excluded disabled young people from universal provisions.
  • Assisting young people to move into adulthood and transfer to an Adult services care manager, if appropriate.
  • Distribution of the Max- Cards, which assist families who have a disabled child/young person to access activities at a reduced cost. 


Those children & young people with complex and profound disabilities who require support from a statutory social work team are referred to the Disabled Children Team. An assessment of need will be completed with the Disabled Children Team social worker who will be responsible for:

  • Co-ordination care plans.
  • Organising services – this includes referring to other services, if appropriate.
  • Liaising with other multi-agency professionals who may be involved with your child/family, as appropriate.
  • Regular reviewing of plans and services with young people and their parents/carers at least every six months.
  • If part of the plan is for your child to be ‘looked after’ overnight in the form of short break care, or through full time accommodation, then the Local Authority has an additional responsibility to promote your child’s welfare and protection. 


2. Where is it located and what areas does it cover?


The main Disabled Children Team is currently based in County Hall, Morpeth, with a small number of social workers based in St Mathew’s House, Hexham. The team providers a social work service to the whole of Northumberland. 

3. Who does your service provide for?

  • If required social work support is provided from time of diagnosis and referral to the team up until the young person reaches eighteen currently. We also provide a social work service to those young people who also have a sensory loss and complex needs. The team also provides links to INFO-LINK (Disabled Children register) and applications for a MAX Card. Following an assessment of need if eligible for support a support package will be discussed and agreed that would best meet assessed needs. This may include: Sign posting to universal services.
  •  Specialist support such as after school clubs, holiday activity schemes.
  • Enabling support to provide periods of respite for parents/carers and/or to support young person to access local resources to promote inclusion in local community.
  • Aids for daily living and support with adaptions through a paediatric occupational therapist assessment via a referral from the Disabled Children Team if already known to the team.
  • Specialist social work and aids for deaf children.
  • Specialist social worker for children with dual sensory loss.
  • Specialist Visual Impairment assessment who can then recommend equipment and/or mobility training.
  • Referral to specialist services, such as Pre-school Portage Service, benefits advice etc.
  • Overnight respite support through family based or residential provisions.  
  • Assessed services can be funded through direct payments or a Personal Budget if parents/carers prefer this means of accessing support.
  • Safeguarding of disabled child/young people from abuse.

4. How can I start using the service?

Access to the team is via referral from parents/carers or a professional on behalf of the Disabled child/young person. To be eligible for a service the Disabled child/young person will have a moderate/severe learning and/or physical disability which impacts significantly on parents/carers ability to meet the young persons’ needs without support or to provide them with a break from their caring role. The need to access the service is required to be linked to the child’s/young person’s disability and not to other family issues/concerns. At this time there is no charge for the service, although there would be an expectation that parents/carers would fund club fees and transport. Disabled Children Team would fund any additional support required to support access at an agreed level.


Personal budgets and Direct Payments are offered as a means of funding your assessed needs if appropriate.


As we offer a statutory social worker service there is no waiting list. However, there may be a waiting list for a particular service required following assessment.


5. How are decisions made about who can use your service?


Any decisions made are fully explained in the assessment of need which is completed with the involvement of the disabled child/young person if appropriate and their parents/carers. The social work assessment and any potential support package arising from this require approval from the Team Manager. You will be provided with a copy of the assessment and any support package will be reviewed at least six monthly.

 6. How do you communicate with service users and how are they

involved in decision making/planning?

 An information pack is provided to parents/carers at the time of the first assessment. Any specific communication needs are considered at the time of the initial assessment.  For those families whose first language is not English an interpreter would be commissioned to support with translation needs. Any support plan/package agreed would have clear outcomes to be achieved and reviewed on at least a six monthly basis.

7. Is your service fully accessible?

 The social worker will visit the disabled child/young person and their parents/carers within their own home, therefore access should not be a problem. Individual providers are responsible for making their service accessible.

 8. What training are the staff supporting children and young people with

SEND had or are having?

 All social workers are qualified and skilled in the area of specialist social work with disabled child/young people and their families/carers. Social workers work into specific geographical areas of the county. This supports the social workers to develop strong working relationships with multi-agency colleagues both within in Children’s care and Adult Services. The social work team is divided into social workers, Disabled children providing support up until around the first transitional educational review 13-14 years. Social workers, Transition support the transfer to Adult Services at the age of eighteen. The Disabled Children Team works closely with education and health professionals involved with the disabled child/young person.

 9. Who can I contact for further information?

 The first point of contact for a new referral would be the Enquiry Referral Administrator – Tel 01670-516131.

 If the contact was in relation to an active case then the first point of contact would be the disabled child/young person’s allocated social worker or the child’s/young person’s allocated social work assistant.

 In the absence of the allocated social worker or social work assistant the contact person would be the duty worker of the day if the query was urgent.



Contact Name
Kirstine Gagie (Referral Coordinator)
Contact Telephone
01670 516131
Contact Email
Local Offer Age Bands
Primary (4-10 years)
Secondary (11-16 years)
Transitions to Adulthood (16+)
Early Years (0-4 years)
Needs Level
SEN Provision Type

Last updated on: 13/08/2015

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