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Children with Disability Team

Torbay Children's Services have developed a specialist team comprising occupational therapists, social workers and community care workers, keyworkers and physiotherapists to support children under 18 with disabilities and their families.  The team's work also includes the management and support of holiday play schemes, Saturday clubs and sitting services.

Contact can be made directly if you already have an allocated children with disability team social worker, or via other professionals such as health visitors, GPs, consultants or the local duty teams of the Children in Need and Permanency Planning Service.

Who to contact

01803 208596

Where to go

Tor Hill House
c/o Town Hall

Other Details


Referral required
Referral Details

The Children with Disabilitiy Team Criteria for assessment is a condition diagnosed by a Doctor or Consultant which is substantial, long lasting, permanent, physical and/or learning disability or a life limiting, life threatening condition.

These may include:

  • Severe learning disabilities
  • Severe physical disabilities
  • Severe developmental delay in motor and or cognitive functioning
  • Profound multiple disabilities
  • Severe sensory impairment (registered blind and profoundly deaf)
  • Complex and severe health problems that arise from the disability, that are life threatening, degenerative illness or organic disorder resulting in severe disability
  • A diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition with an associated learning disability and where the condition severely affects day to day functioning (When making reference to a “Learning Disability” the definition applied is the same that is used for the Children’s Learning Disability Health Team criteria of Learning Disability.)

All referrals are made via Torbay's Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) referral system.

The criteria for referral and assessment from the Children with Disabilities Social Care Team would not include a child or young person with the following diagnoses, (unless they have other conditions that meet the criteria as detailed in their criteria):

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Most  Autistic Spectrum Conditions including Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD, Emotional  & Behavioural difficulties, Oppositional Defiance Disorder;
  • Mild physical disabilities
  • Mild Learning Disability
  • Mild Global Developmental Delay
  • Speech and Language difficulties
  • Sensory disabilities only
  • Controlled Epilepsy
  • Mental Health Conditions

Where services are not required advice or referral to other services or signposting may be offered.

Local Offer


What criteria must be satisfied before children and young people can access this provision/service?
The Children’s Disability Team’s Threshold Criteria is used to establish the eligibility of a referral to the team. Once it is agreed that the referral meets the threshold, a Social Worker or a Community Care Worker will undertake an Initial Assessment.

How do we identify the particular social care needs of a child or young person with special educational needs?
The Children’s Disability Social Worker will use the Initial Assessment to gather information from you, your family and all relevant professionals involved. They will consider the support already in place and identify how we can make a positive contribution to your social care.

A plan is written and agreed with the family with measurable targets to achieve an improvement in the child or young person’s social care. These are expected outcomes.

How do we consult with parents and/or children and young people about their needs?
A Social Worker will visit you and your family and in consultation with you will identify what help and support may be needed.
What is our approach to meeting the social care needs of children and young people with special educational needs?
Once the assessment is completed a range of activities and support will be discussed with the child or the young person. This may include the following depending upon assessed need:
•    Torbay Special Needs Playschemes (school holiday periods)
•    Torbay Special Needs Saturday Club (Saturdays)
•    Torbay Sensory Group (main school holidays)
•    Occupational therapists (referrals for services and equipment)
•    Learning Disability Team (pathway to behaviour support, Sleep Clinic, Bowel and Bladder Clinic and Children Mental Health Services)
•    Social and leisure opportunities
•    Local social and leisure opportunities in localities or communities closest to the family
•    Childminding services
•    Overnight Short Breaks
How will we ensure we get the services, provision and equipment that children and young people need?
The Initial Assessment or Review will identify the current needs of the family. A Care Plan will be developed with you to address the needs identified. Provision of the services and/or equipment to achieve the aims of the care plan will be discussed with you.
How is this provision funded?
The Children’s Disability Service is funded under Torbay Council, through the Children’s Specialist Team who holds the budget for Short Breaks for Disabled Children and Young People 0 to 18 years who meet the Threshold for Assessment of Need from this team.
How do we support children and young people with special educational needs moving from children’s services to adult’s services?
A transition process starts when the young person is 14/15 years of age.
A joint Health, Education and Social Care Plan will be produced for each child with special educational needs.

Once Adult Services are engaged with the young person’s transition to adult social care, a joint plan is agreed to ensure a smooth transition takes place.
How do we assess and review progress towards agreed outcomes, and how are parents, children and young people involved in this process?
Regular reviews of the child and family’s progress take place to ensure that the planned support is working. If changes of need are assessed or different services needed these can be discussed as part of the review.

You can tell us in your review how this plan is working for you and what could be better.

How do we assess the effectiveness of our special needs provision and how are parents, children and young people involved in this assessment?
Day Care Services groups provide regular evaluation reports to the appropriate Social Worker or Community Care Worker. These reports identify any progress identified towards achieving the planned and expected outcomes in the child’s Care Plan.

External providers contribute reports and information as part of their contract agreement of service provision.

How do we ensure that social care staff and other staff have the expertise needed to support children and young people with special educational needs?
•    All staff are recruited under Torbay Council’s Recruitment and Retention Policy
•    Comprehensive training and development includes individual professional development programs
•    Care providers are assessed by external bodies i.e. Care Quality Commission or OFSTED
•    Regular reviews
•    Information gathered from children and young people through a range of communication and observations
•    Consistent and regular contact with families takes place between reviews for all families to ensure that the plan that is in place is still appropriate to meet the needs of the child or young person
•    All contacts, conversations and observations are recorded and used to shape, change or withdraw from the agreed plan

How can parents, children and young people make a complaint about our provision?
The Children’s Disability Team will resolve any concerns raised about the services delivered, in the first instance.

Should there be a need to make a formal complaint; the Torbay Council complaints process is followed.

How can parents, children and young people get more information about the setting?
Information and sign posting can be gained directly from the Torbay Children’s Disability Service, Social Workers, SENCOs in schools or Torbay Family Information Service.

Connections offices in each town are also able to give information and contact numbers for the Children’s Disability Service.

The Torbay Special Needs Playscheme, Saturday Club and Sensory group are OFSTED registered and have their latest report on their website.