- If you have needs that are difficult to meet, you may need help, even if your parents and carers are doing their best to look after you
- Your rights as a child play a big part in making sure you are involved in these important decisions
- The local authority is responsible for assessing your care and support needs and for making sure you get the help you need.
If you are disabled or have other needs that are difficult to meet, you can get help and support from the local authority. You have a part to play in this, and your rights are important to make sure your voice is heard in this process.
In Wales, there are laws in place to make sure your rights are respected. You should be included in the decision making and provided with details of what the local authority will do to help you. As long as you have a full understanding of your situation and the decisions that have to be made, you can also refuse to have an assessment if you don’t want to have one.
In Wales, the local authorities have a responsibility to work out if you need extra care and support. This could be care and support as well as the care and support your parents are giving you, or instead of it. This could be because you have additional needs, or because your parents aren’t looking after you properly. If you have additional needs and you need more support, but your parents are caring for you properly, the local authority should help your parents to look after you, either by giving you access to the services you need, or by making payments to your parents so that they can pay for what you need.
If your parents aren’t caring for you properly, there are other steps the local authority should take to make sure you are safe. You can find out more about this here.
Your parents, or the people with parental responsibility for you may get in touch with the local authority directly, because they are worried about how they will manage to provide you proper care or meet your needs. This might happen in combination with discussions they have with doctors, or other people involved in looking after you, like teachers.
The local authority has to look at different things to work out what care and support you need. The local authority has to find out what you’d like to achieve, as well as what the people with parental responsibility for you, would like you to achieve. They have to take into account your age, and your understanding of the situation.
You should be involved in the assessment. This will give you the chance to explain the help you think you need.
You don’t have to be assessed, but it is your right to have the assessment so you can get the help and support you need.
If you’re 16 or 17 you can refuse to have an assessment if you have full understanding about the decision you are making. If you do this, the local authority doesn’t have to assess your needs.
If you don’t have full understanding about what the assessment involves, someone with parental responsibility for you can refuse the assessment if there’s no other person who has been given the power to make the decision for you.
The local authority can carry out an assessment even if someone with parental responsibility has refused, if the local authority thinks it’s in your best interests, or thinks that you are being hurt or neglected or at risk of being hurt or neglected.
If you’re under 16 you can refuse an assessment as long as the local authority are happy that you understand the decision you are making.
Someone with parental responsibility can also refuse an assessment of your needs. If someone with parental responsibility refuses an assessment, but you would like to go ahead with the assessment, then the local authority should listen to your wishes as long as it thinks that you fully understand the situation.
The local authority can also go ahead with an assessment if it thinks it’s in your best interests, or if it thinks you are at risk of abuse, neglect or harm.
If you’ve refused an assessment, but later change your mind, you can ask the local authority for an assessment and they should carry this .
The local authority has a power to help you even if you haven’t had an assessment.
When your needs for care and support have been assessed, the local authority will look at your need for support and then work out whether it can help you. There are rules which set down the circumstances when the local authority can help you.
If your needs relate to your rights, such as your right to education and to leisure time and spending time with friends or to your development, the local authority will have to help you if your family or a carer can’t meet your need.
In some cases, the local authority can charge for the care or support it provides. You won’t have to pay the charge, but your parents or carers might have to pay it, depending on their financial situation.
The kind of help you can get will depend on what your need for support is. The local authority will have lots of options open to it, to make sure you get the support that will help you best. The help you will get will depend on your situation and your care and support needs.
If the local authority has to meet your needs for care and support, it has to create a care and support plan. The plan has to describe your needs and the sorts of things you want to happen longer term – your personal outcomes – that you discussed during the assessment. It also has to say what the local authority has to do to meet your care and support needs and help you reach your personal outcomes. If one of the ways the local authority will meet your needs is by making direct payments to you, these have to be included in the support plan too. The plan also has to say how the local authority will know if they are meeting your personal outcomes through the plan, and when the plan can be reviewed.
If the care and support plan isn’t meeting your needs for support, the local authority has to review it. You can also ask for a review of the support plan. After the review, the local authority has to decide whether to keep the plan as it is, to change the plan or close the plan.
Yes, you should be given a copy of the support plan.
You should also get a copy of the plan if it is changed after a review.
If the plan is closed down, you should get a copy of the ‘closure statement’ which explains why the plan has been closed, and an explanation of how successful the plan was. If the local authority thinks that you still have support needs but that they can be met in other ways and not by help from the local authority, the closure statement has to explain these.
Even if the local authority doesn’t have to meet your needs for support, it still has to make sure that you’re not being abused or neglected or at risk of being abused or neglected. Even if your care and support needs don’t meet the local authority’s requirements for providing care and support, the local authority should still help if it thinks you’re being neglected, abused or harmed, or at risk of this.
Your situation will be unique, so you will need to get specific advice if you have needs for care and support that the local authority has told you it won’t meet. If the local authority says it won’t meet your needs, you can complain.