Young disabled children and their families should be allocated a
key worker to provide support and co-ordinate services, according
to new guidance.
An external working group involved in drawing up the disability
section of the National Service Framework for Children argues that
key workers are central to improving services for disabled
under-threes and their families.
It calls for them to work in partnership with families to provide a
clear point of reference and a link through which other services
can be accessed and used effectively.
Workers performing this role could come from any health or social
care agency, depending on the needs of the child.
Paul Ennals, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau and
chairperson of the working group, said only a few families had
access to such a service at present.
The guidance calls for more information-sharing between
professionals to end the need for parents to keep repeating their
The need for families to be provided with information in their own
language is also highlighted. Ennals said it was crucial that
interpreting services were improved. “Quite often a child is called
on to interpret in what are some of the most sensitive moments in a
family’s life,” he said.
Some agencies have already used the group’s guidance to review
their services. The recommendations are expected to feature
prominently in measures proposed within the framework’s section on
disability due out this winter.
The hospital standard, the only part of the framework for children
published so far, came out in April alongside emerging findings on
disabled children, child and adolescent mental health and child
– Together from the Start from www.doh.gov.uk/nsf/children/togetherindex.htm