Guidance on requesting a Parent Carers Needs Assessment
Under the Children Act 1989, it has always been expected that an assessment of a Child In Need under Section 17, including all disabled children, will be ‘holistic’ so that it will take account of the needs of other family members.
However, parent carers also have rights to stand-alone assessments and to services under the Children and Families Act 2014.
Section 97 of the Children & Families Act 2014 amends the Children Act 1989 (by adding s17ZD to s17ZF) to require local authorities to assess parent carers on the appearance of need or where an assessment is requested by the parent.
This is called a Parent Carers Needs Assessment (PCNA).
When requested, Brighter Futures for Children (on Reading Borough Council’s behalf) will assess whether that parent carer has needs for support and, if so, what those needs are.
The assessment will include an assessment of whether it is appropriate for the parent carer to provide, or continue to provide, care for the disabled child, in the light of the parent carer/s needs for support, other needs and wishes.
The assessment will also have regard to:
- the well-being of the parent carer; and
- the need to safeguard / promote the welfare of the disabled child and any other child for whom the parent carer has parental responsibility.
Following assessment, Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) will then decide whether the parent carer has needs for support; whether the disabled child has needs for support; and if so how these needs can best be met.
Services to be provided for parent carers of disabled children, including following an assessment of their needs under sections 17ZD-17ZF of the Children Act 1989 can be included in Section H1 of the EHC plan, if the child has one.
BFfC response to PCNAs
In Reading the statutory duty to carry out Parent Carers Needs Assessments (PCNA) has been delegated by BFfC to the Carers Hub, also known as TuVida. This means that the Carers Hub can carry out PCNAs as outlined below, although if a parent carer requests a whole family assessment and declines a PCNA these will be carried out by BFfC in the most appropriate team depending on the presenting needs of the child for which the parent carer is caring for.
If all needs identified through the PCNA can be met by providing advice, information and connecting the parent carer to support, the Carers Hub will provide this support and advice regarding contingency planning.
With the parent carer’s consent the contingency plan can be sent to BFfC and be uploaded on the BFfC recording system in case support from BFfC is required in the future.
If the Carers Hub carries out a PCNA, and recommends that the parent carer or the child/ young person would benefit from a package of support as a result of the child/young person’s disability and the impact this has on them the PCNA needs to be sent to BFfC as a referral for support under S.17 Children Act 1989. This may include a recommendation for direct payments to fund a personal assistant or short breaks.
If the Carers Hub carries out a PCNA and has concerns regarding the child/ young person being at risk of harm a safeguarding referral will be made to BFfC.
PCNA – child/ young person not currently open to BFfC
The Carers Hub can carry out all these PCNAs.
If the parent carer’s needs can be met by providing information, advice and connecting to support the PCNA will not be sent to BFfC.
If a contingency plan is completed, with the parent carers consent this can be sent to BFfC and will be stored on BFfC recording system in case intervention is required in the future.
If the parent carer requires BFfC support the Carers Hub will send the PCNA with a referral to BFfC with the parent carers consent. This may include a recommendation for direct payments to fund a personal assistant or short breaks.
PCNA – Child/ Young Person currently open to BFfC
If a parent carer contacts BFfC requesting a PCNA this is now referred to the Carers Hub for a PCNA.
When the Carers Hub carries out the PCNA and the parent carer’s needs can be met by providing information, advice and connecting to support, the PCNA will be sent by the Carers Hub to BFfC with the parent carer’s consent and recorded on the child’s file.
If the parent carer requires further intervention from BFfC the Carers Hub will send a referral to BFfC for attention of the allocated team. BFfC will record the PCNA and have a conversation with the parent carer to begin a single assessment taking this information into consideration.
If a parent carer requests a whole family assessment and declines a PCNA these will be carried out by BFfC in the team the child is already open to.
PCNAs do not need to be reviewed. They can be closed once completed by the Carers Hub, with the parent carer encouraged to get back in touch if circumstances change.
Contact details for the Carers Hub
If you needs support or advice on a Parent Carers Needs Assessment, or would like to request a PCNA please contact TuVida (Carers Hub), who conduct assessments on our behalf.
The contact details are below.
Telephone: 0118 324 7333
The ACS online carer self-assessment is no longer available.
The chart below explains the process. Further information can be found on the Reading SEND Local Offer website.