Skip to main content

Children with Disability (CWD) Team

Torbay Children's Services have a specialist team comprising social workers and community care workers, to support children with disabilities up to the age of eighteen and their families across a range of thresholds, including Targeted Help, Child in Need and Child Protection planning and Cared For planning. They work in close connection with the Placements, Day Care Services and Short Break team, who oversee the management and support of holiday play schemes, Saturday clubs and enabling services as well as Direct Payments.

  • Children who are under the age of 18 and who have a disability will usually have their needs assessed under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
  • If the child is approaching adulthood and it appears to social workers that the child is likely to have needs for care and support after becoming 18, a transition assessment may be undertaken under section 58 Care Act 2014.
  • An adult will be assessed under section 9 Care Act 2014.

Needs assessments will be used to gather information to determine needs, whether the threshold for the CWD Team is met and to identify the level and type of resource provision needed. The definition of disabled children and young people is set out in the Equality Act 2010: that is a child and young person who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on normal day-to-day activities.

The Children with Disabilities Team will usually only provide services to children and young people who have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial long term adverse effect at a severe or profound level as further explained within the Torbay Children with Disabilities Eligibility Criteria. 

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

Who to contact

01803 208100

Where to go

Tor Hill House
c/o Town Hall

Other Details


Referral required
Referral Details

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

Please refer to the Torbay Children with Disabilities Eligibility Criteria. 

Local Offer


What criteria must be satisfied before children and young people can access this provision/service?
The Children with Disabilities Team Eligibility 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 will undertake a Single Assessment. It may be that, following assessment, eligibility is no longer met however support is still required; in these situations, a transfer will be considered to another service within Children’s Services and this will be discussed with the child and their family.

How do we identify the particular social care needs of a child or young person with special educational needs?
The Children with Disability Social Worker will use the Single 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. This will also include a Parent/Carer assessment, to understand the impact of the child’s needs on the caring role and what signposting or support may be necessary for the parent/carer in their own right.

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 Playschemes (school holiday periods)
  • Torbay Needs Saturday Club (Saturdays)
  • 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
  • Enabling support
  • Local social and leisure opportunities in localities or communities closest to the family
  • Overnight Short Breaks 

How will we ensure we get the services, provision and equipment that children and young people need?
The Single Assessment or Review Assessment will identify the current needs of the family. A Child’s 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 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.

A review Parent/Carer assessment will also be undertaken at this stage, to consider how best to support a parent/carer in adjusting to this transition.
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 are 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 and Team Manager. These reports identify any progress identified towards achieving the planned and expected outcomes in the child’s 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 with 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 with Disability Team, Social Workers, SENCOs in schools or Torbay Family Information Service.

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