Agenda item


The Service Director Children’s Services presented the report to members to update them in relation to progress with action plans associated with Inspection of the Disabled Children’s Service and Focused Activity in the 16+ Service.


The Service Director also referred members to the appendices in the report which provided members with a “RAG” Status against the action plan that detailed areas that were doing well and areas that needed development, which the service area were committed to seeing through


A Member referred to the ALN programme and asked what the integration provision for disabled children and what schools provide looks like, particularly for those children that are disabled that may attend a mainstream school.  


The Service Manager Disabled Children responded that social workers within the disabled children’s service worked closely alongside education colleagues in both special and mainstream schools.  Moving forward with new act, the same officers are undertaking training and working alongside colleagues to take up the implementation of the IDPs and have already been part of some pilot programmes. 


The Service Manager Disabled Children added that some pilot programmes had also been undertaken in a special school in Ysgol Hen Felin to look how officers and social workers were also involved in the implementation.

She advised members that the Authority are not taking the disabled children’s service up to age 25, this was based on research from IPC and was also in line with the Additional Learning Needs act.  She added however, that they were working much more closely with 18-25 year olds who are looked after, in partnership with adult services to build on the transition protocol. 


A Member referred to the improvement plan where the RAG status for managers was indicating a red status in relation to considering reviewing capacity allocation and team development that had been halted due to vacancies.  She asked if members could be provided an update on that.  


The Service Director Children’s Services replied that recruitment had taken place and the service continued to manage throughout the very difficult pandemic period.  Now that staff had been inducted and settled into their roles the development workshop will take place in November 2021 as they considered it important that new staff had the opportunity to take part.


A Member asked what provisional care/ support is given in the Borough for young people up to the age of 25 who develop a disability in later childhood, and in particular from blindness.   He asked if there was any specific support in RCT for them. He asked this as there was a child in his ward who could not access braille books from their local library but instead got them from the RNIB


The Service Manager Disabled Services advised that a family member or a professional can make a referral to the Disabled Children’s Service team at any point and through that process a comprehensive assessment is undertaken to ascertain any additional needs and what specific support can be offered by the disabled children’s service.  She added that there is also a sensory team that operates that can support with specific issues.  She advised the member that she would clarify about the specific availability of braille and would send him the information requested including detailed information of the sensory team.


A Member referred to the areas that had been identified in the report, specifically “increased focus on family strength and the identification of personal outcomes” and asked what improvement methods had been identified.  And also she asked how the service ensures that the voice of the child is heard and acted upon.


The Service Manager Disabled Children replied that the voice of the child can never be complete as an action as this would continually be developed by improving the communication skills of their staff.  She added that they also picked up that advocacy wasn’t routinely offered but this has now been addressed and the service can demonstrate that this is now offered to all children and young people that are referred to their service.


In addition Members were informed that an extensive Makaton programme had been rolled out and pictorial software had been invested in to translate any information into a visual language for young people.  She added that the enablement team now started in a position with visuals, such as plans, assessments and practices for their families, which empowers and enables our children and young people to be more independent.


A Member referred to housing associations and recent discussions whereby housing would be built with disabled families and their specific needs in mind and asked if this was an area where the disabled children’s service could work with the housing associations to provide them with advice on what considerations should be made when building these properties.


The Service Manager Disabled Children stated that there is a paediatric occupational therapy team that work closely with housing colleagues and trivallis that advise on specific needs of their families.  She added that early discussions were also undertaken when there was an opportunity for any new build properties as there were a number of families on the waiting list for specialist housing with specific needs. She confirmed that any specialist advice that was required, the occupational therapists could advise. 


A Member asked if it was usual practice that new staff receive training on children’s rights and disability rights. 


The Service Manager Children’s Services replied that training on children’s rights are in the training calendar for all children services staff.  She added that they have also held training on disability rights and safeguarding disabled children though these were not in the rolling annual calendar. 


A Member referred to Post 16 on the Improvement Plan and asked what support they are provided as some children will move from a mainstream school into a special school setting.  She added she would be interested to hear what support was also in place for children with hidden disabilities such as poor mental health, anxiety and autism.


The Service Director Children’s Services advised that they had recently reviewed and updated the transition policy.  She advised that they had increased their work around housing to increase the availability of support in supported accommodation and they were also working closely with colleagues in the Health Board around Mental Health and Wellbeing.     She added that other areas of development around Looked After Young People was now in place and they have commissioned an emotional wellbeing and therapeutic services team to support them through their journey. 


The Service Manager Disabled Children added that children are ideally brought into transition process from the age of 14 to give plenty of time to work with the family and partners to ensure a long and smooth transition period.  She further added that children with complex needs were supported with additional planning to support them at their own pace.


The Director of Education added that for learners with transitional period is an integral part of preparing them for their next phase in education. 

In some of the Special Schools, there is provision on college sites to enable the young people to become acclimatised in a new environment.  She reassured members that even if learners do not meet the requirements to access the services in the disabled children’s team, there are still requirements on the schools to work in partnership with the Authority to mitigate all risks and still ensure there is a robust transition plan in place for that learner.




Members noted the contents of the report and recommended that all members receive further information from the sensory team on their availability of services.


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