1 year ago

Needs Code February 2017


the child already has an

the child already has an IDP being maintained for them; the local authority has previously decided the issue, is satisfied that the needs have not changed materially since that decision and there is no new information that materially affects that decision; or, the child is a looked after child in the care of another local authority in Wales. 32 (There is further guidance on looked after children in Chapter 20). 7.1.23 The benefits of early identification are widely recognised. Identifying need at the earliest point and then making effective provision greatly enhances the opportunity for the child to achieve their potential. The earlier action is taken, the more responsive the individual is likely to be and the intervention required is likely to be less intense and most cost effective. Children under Compulsory School Age – Health Bodies’ Role and Power to Notify 7.1.24 Health bodies support early identification of young children who may have ALN through a range of services. Children with more complex developmental and sensory needs may be identified at birth. Health professionals, such as paediatricians and health visitors, often come into contact with the child before education professionals. They are therefore often in a position to identify ALN before anyone else. Standard health assessments, such as the hearing screening test, which is used to check the hearing of all new-born babies, enable very early identification of a range of medical and physical difficulties. 7.1.25 Section 57 of the Act sets out functions of health bodies in relation to the identification of ALN for children under compulsory school age. 7.1.26 It applies to the following health bodies (some are bodies in England): Health Boards; NHS Trusts; Clinical Commissions Groups NHS Foundation Trusts; and A Special Health Authority 33 . 7.1.27 A health body (which includes individual health professionals which work for the aforementioned health bodies), in the course of exercising its functions in relation to a child who is under compulsory school age, and for whom a local authority in Wales is responsible, may form the opinion that the child has (or probably has) ALN. 32 Section 11(4) of the Act. 33 Section 57(2) of the Act. Page | 46

7.1.28 At this point the health body must inform the child’s parent of its opinion and of its power to notify the relevant local authority 34 . It must also give the parent an opportunity to discuss the issue, before approaching the local authority 35 . 7.1.29 The health body may then bring the matter to the attention of the local authority responsible for the child (or for a looked after child, the local authority that looks after the child) where it is satisfied that doing so would be in the best interests of the child 36 . 7.1.30 Whether notifying the local authority is in the best interests of the child is for the health body to determine. Factors that could be considered when deciding when it might be in a child’s best interests could include: informing the local authority will help the authority plan for provision that the child will require when he/she attends an early years setting or primary school; as a consequence, the local authority is able to put provision in place before the child reaches compulsory school age – this early intervention may reduce the likely impact of ALN on the child or prevent the impact of ALN on the child from becoming more severe; or the local authority would be able to implement early intervention which would support parents to support their child – such support might be emotional or help to establish trust and positive relationships between the local authority and the parent. 7.1.31 If the health body is of the opinion that a particular voluntary organisation is likely to be able to provide the parent with advice or other assistance in connection with the child’s ALN, it must inform the parent of that voluntary organisation 37 . 7.1.32 Whenever a health body contacts a local authority in this way, it will have been brought to the attention of the local authority that the child has, or may have, ALN Local authorities must then go on to decide whether the child has ALN in accordance with their duties under section 11(1) of the Act (see Chapter 8) or section 16(1) of the Act, subject to any exceptions in those provisions. 7.1.33 At a later stage in the process, health bodies may also provide diagnostic services, undertake assessments, make onward referrals within health and provide health reports to assist with the preparation of IDPs, and ultimately secure appropriate treatment or services – see Chapter 12 for more details. 34 Section 57(3) of the Act. 35 Section 57(4) of the Act. 36 Section 57(4) of the Act. 37 Section 57(5) of the Act. Page | 47

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