Social Care Services

Do you have a question about SEND?

We recognise that this will be a worrying time for families of young people with additional needs and are committed to helping you with any questions or enquiries you might have about SEND.
As most Council employees are now working from home in line with Government advice, please contact us using the 'Get in touch' form on the homepage. Also, you can call the general SEND Advice Line on 01744 67 10 54
This will make sure that your enquiry is passed to the right person and you receive an appropriate response as quickly as possible.

You can also access information via SEND - Local Offer Facebook Group


Updated 05/08/2021

Using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: full guidance for people receiving direct payments and personal assistants


Frequently Asked Questions - Update July

Children with Disabilities team will be focusing its staffing resources on where it is needed most to ensure children and young people receive safe care. This means they may need to concentrate on some areas and reduce in others. The team has confirmed their offer to families will be:

· Contact and visit families at highest risk where appropriate

· Daily contact with those families who are the most vulnerable

· Abbeyford will continue to offer respite however this is on a reduced service and will be making contact with individual families. At the moment there are no new referrals being considered.

· In the event that your Direct payment workers are impacted by COVID 19 government guidance/sickness/restrictions, Where possible the direct payment package can be reviewed and short term alternative PA could be considered. 

At present Abbeyford’s respite centre will remain open for overnight respite on a reduced service. At present Abbeyford are only supporting 1 child a night. There may come a time when this provision has to cease due to staff shortages and families needing to self-isolate. The team will keep these services open for as long as possible. There is the potential for emergency respite with Abbeyford however this is only going to occur in emergency and extenuating circumstances. If an emergency respite opportunity is required this will impact on any planned respite, therefore any planned respite may be cancelled at short notice. If Abbeyford does close the Local Authority will try to offer other options for short breaks like additional direct payments or support from outreach and social work staff. The review of Abbeyford’s ability to provide more respite opportunities will be reviewed and families will be contacted about any increase or decrease in respite on offer.

Yes your PA should work as usual unless they are sick or self-isolating.

If you PA's are currently unwell or self isolating you need to notify the Direct payment team. In the event your PA('s) are isolating or sick they will need a sick note off of their doctor and this should be forwarded by yourselves as the employer to the direct payment team, this will allow the PA to still be paid. If a person is off sick they can only receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they meet the threshold of £120.00 per week gross. If their wage is below £120.00 per week they will not be entitled to any pay. If there is a need for additional support please get in contact with the Children with Disabilities team. If you are receiving direct payments through the local offer of 5 hours or less, the Contact Care’s/MASH team should be contacted on 01744 676767 for any potential additional funding.

As employers, we have responsibilities and we want to be sure we are doing things properly. 


Independent Lives have produced some really useful, detailed guidance about what to do if your PA is self isolating either because they are displaying symptoms or because you feel it’s safer for them to do so for everyone’s well being. See (the really useful info starts half way down the page).


As an employer, you have a liability insurance in place. If you are not sure, contact your insurance company as they have 24 hour legal helplines to advise.

The Children with Disabilities Team may be able to look at funding some additional direct payments to support families during this time. You need to contact the children with disabilities team if you are receiving support directly through the Children with Disabilities team. The St Helens Children with Disabilities team are not able to guarantee that the ours agreed for funding can be completed if the PA identified by yourselves does not have availability. If you are being offered support through the St Helens Local Offer of 5 or less hours please contact the St Helen’s Contact Cares/MASH team regarding the support you are receiving on 01744 676767

Your PA can still undertake tasks to support you as a family and be paid by supporting shopping tasks and bringing it around to your home. This would have to be in agreement with your PA and if it is possible for your PA to undertake the task. The PA's role is for the support of the child/young person for which they are funded. However this support is only to be put in place for as long as COVID 19 guidance and social distancing restrictions are in place. 

Depending on the support you require there is support through the St Helens Together telephone number 01744 676767. We want to support your family networks to be maintained so the people who are involved with you and your family are trusted individuals.  

If you are worried about not being able to cope, you can call the contact the St Helens together phone number 01744 676767 

If you are already under the care of the Children with Disability team you should let them know if any part of your agreed social care support package is not happening as normal/required e.g. if your child’s PA becomes ill or is self-isolating and you have not been able to find a replacement.

Or if you don’t have any support but you feel that you need help then you should contact the St Helens together phone number above or if you have a social worker contact the Children with Disability team.

For more advice on families caring for children with serious and complex health needs, see this information from Well Child and Carers UK:

Your PA's time sheets should still be submitted. If you have been affected by your family self isolating or your PA('s) isolation or illness you should still submit the time sheets to the direct payment team. If you are unsure please contact the Direct payment team on Tel: (01744) 675359 or 676200   Email:

Children on Child In Needs plans and Children We Look After will be visited every 4 weeks from the allocated social worker.

Children on Child Protection Plans will be contacted very 2 weeks by the allocated social worker.

Children in CWD level 2 tray have been contacted by family support workers. These families will be contacted every 6 weeks during the pandemic.

Social care are still accepting referrals to provide social care advice for EHC assessments.

Social care (CWD) are completing visits to children (either in person or virtually) as per statutory guidelines and the St Helen’s Social Care practice standards. The reason we contact is to review the child’s plan, to ensure the needs of the child and family continue to be met, and that safety and well-being is ensured through this Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. The staff are assessing if they family has the support they need, either from social care or other agencies to be as supportive as possible. Many of our families have said they welcome the regular calls.


The purpose of the Local Offer is to enable parents and young people to see more clearly what services are available for children with special educational needs and disabilities in their area, and how to access them.

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