Individual budgets drawing on social care, health and education should be rolled out to all children’s services, according to social enterprise In Control.
The self-directed-support group argues that the integrated funding model is essential for flexible, joined-up support addressing the children’s needs in a holistic way.
In Control’s discussion paper, A Whole Life Approach to Personalisation: Self-directed support for every child and young person, concludes: “A child’s life is not split into sectors or different systems. Support to a child should reflect the whole child’s life and their support needs.”
For example, families of children with mental health problems might benefit if they are given access to pooled social care, health and education budgets.
This would allow them to purchase health services alongside flexible learning support to help them return to mainstream education. This comes with the additional benefits offered by individual budgets, which are a fairer, more efficient, and better value for money system than the traditional “menu-driven” approach currently used by children’s services commissioners, according to the paper.
It concedes that the policy would require legislative reform, as budgets for education and health are currently managed within their respective sectors.
However, In Control argues “there are no legitimate reasons for not treating the money as a single pot”, and pointed to the Department of Health’s decision to pilot personal health budgets, following a review by Lord Darzi, as evidence that the shift to integrated budgets is already under way.
Individual budgets differ from personal budgets in that they combine social care money with other funding streams such as independent living funds and disabled facilities grants.
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