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Care, advice and support

Every child and family needs support at different times. The agencies listed here offer advice and support for families with children who need specific kinds of help. There is also a range of additional organisations that offer support and guidance.

Local disability provision (PDF, 341 KB)

Support if your child is disabled

If your child is disabled, you can access support according to their needs. Children who meet the priority and eligibility criteria as children in need, which includes those who are disabled, are eligible for the services. A child in need is defined in law as a child aged under 18 who:

  • is disabled
  • needs local authority services to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development
  • needs local authority services to prevent significant or further harm to health or development

The referral coordinator in the Children’s Assessment Team will establish if an initial assessment is required in order to gain a greater understanding about your child’s needs and the level of support that will be needed.

Eligibility criteria

Your family will have an assessment to see if the eligibility criteria for disability support are met. If your child does not meet the eligibility criteria you will be offered advice about other services. Information about how levels of need are determined can be found in our eligibility framework below. 

Service support and eligibility criteria for disabled children and young people:

General positionDisabled child's needsSiblings' needsParents or carers needsLevel of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Child leading life as normally as possible and needs easily met by family


Child’s needs do not significantly impact on siblings' opportunitiesChild’s needs do not significantly impact on parents personal or social livesNone
 Child’s level of needs limit their participation in community activities and their development would benefit from additional social and leisure activitiesChild’s needs are restricting siblings opportunitiesChild’s needs are impacting on parents personal or social livesNone
Child receives additional support in learning or education.Child’s level of needs result in them being unable to participate in community activities which increases impairmentChild’s needs significantly restrict siblings personal or social livesParents need to provide significant care to other dependants who would otherwise be at risk, or child’s needs are significantly impacting on parents personal or social livesLower DLA
Child very vulnerable to risk of significant impairment of health or development, or need for long term accommodationChild’s level of need results in lifelong impact with likely lifetime support from statutory social care servicesChild’s needs are impacting on outcomes for siblingsChild’s needs met but at significant cost to their own physical or mental health, or serious risk of family breakdownHigher DLA
To prevent the need for long term accommodation, child receives significant additional support in learning or educationChild’s essential care or medical needs or need for emotional development and stimulation cannot be metSiblings’ essential needs cannot be met because of disabled child’s needs.Neither child’s nor parents’ essential needs are being met.Higher DLA

If your child is assessed and considered to be disabled, you will be offered appropriate services according to your child’s need. You will then be referred by the assessment team to the disabled children’s team which is a team of social workers and support staff who specialise in offering support for children with profound disabilities and their families. Experienced social workers in the team work with parents, carers and partner agencies to improve outcomes for children and young people who have a variety of needs.

You will be offered the following services as our core offer:

  • access to a relevant professional who can provide advice and support on our services. You will be offered support and advice which will include information on opportunities for children to have fun and in some cases, long-term care, assessment for short breaks (respite) and direct payments as well as benefit advice
  • information about services that provide higher levels of support where this is required, and details about referral processes and eligibility criteria for these services

Where a child or young person has been assessed as having social care needs in relation to their SEN or disabilities, social care teams must secure social care provision which has been assessed as being necessary to support a child or young person’s SEN and which is specified in their Education, Health and Care Plan.

The term social care applies to the benefits that the family and disabled child would receive if they meet the eligibility criteria, for example short breaks.

Short breaks

The PSBG application form and process has been replaced with the Short Breaks 4 Me virtual e-wallet marketplace. The grant is now offered as a virtual £200 allowance which is paid into your Short Breaks 4 Me online account. All applications must be completed online. You will need an email address to complete your application.

More information is available from The Heathway Centre.

Equipment and adaptations

If your child needs equipment or adaptations at home, they will be assessed by an occupational therapist who will look at access in and around the home. They will work with you and your child to find solutions to make life easier. This might involve assessing their self care skills such as dressing and brushing teeth and school skills such as using a pencil and scissors as well taking part in playing.

They will also assess your child's equipment needs and can make recommendations about adaptations and equipment and support with re-housing to more suitable accommodation.   

Referrals are made by doctors or health care professionals and schools to the paediatric physiotherapy and occupational health team. Talk to your to doctor or your child's special educational needs coordinator if you would like to refer your child.        

Additional needs registration

We maintain a register of all children and young people with additional needs – this is a legal requirement. The information you provide is essential to ensure appropriate services are planned for, evaluated and developed.

Register your child on the additional needs list

You do not have to put your child’s name on the register but, if you do, it helps the appropriate agencies to involve you and your child in planning and shaping future services for disabled children.

For further information on the children and young people with additional needs list, contact the Heathway Centre.

For further details of our range of services, contact the Family Information Service.

Jobcentre disability provisions

Refer to the disability provisions and Jobcentre disability provisions for young people in Barking and Dagenham, documents for further assistance.

Jobcentre disability provisions (PDF, 191 KB)

Organisations offering support and advice


Add+up is for children and young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) or challenging behaviour.

Ambitious about Autism

Ambitious about Autism is a national charity for children and young people with autism.

Ambitious College

Ambitious College admits young people from age 16 to 25, who have a primary diagnosis of ASD with a learning difficulty and who require special education. Local authorities, parents or self referral. Cost by arrangement - learners are funded by local authorities, usually from education budgets with some input from social care and / or health as best meets the young person’s needs. Personal budgets can be used for the service.

Barking and Dagenham Family Information Service

Family Information Service provides information, advice and support about services and groups for parents, carers and young children with learning, physical, sensory disabilities and additional needs.

020 8227 5395

Barnardos London Independent Support Service (BLISS)

020 8555 1880


Contact is a national charity for families with disabled children.

Carers of Barking and Dagenham

Carers provide a range of services to support families who have a long term illness or are disabled.

Children's centres

Children’s centres are local community centres which support babies, pre-school children and their families.


CareTrade is a multi-award winning charity providing innovative opportunities for Londoners with autism to transition from school/college towards and into employment. It also provides in-work support (funded by DWP Access to Work), runs a weekend café training programme at Spa School House Café in Bermondsey.

Disablement Association of Barking and Dagenham (DABD)

DABD celebrates diverse ability and work with individuals, local organisations and communities to develop services to support and promote independence, social inclusion and personal development.


AccessAble is developed by disabled people for disabled people, Disabled Go provides access information.

Dyspraxia Foundation

The Dyspraxia Foundation is committed to making the teaching and medical professions more aware of dyspraxia; and to spread understanding of how those who have the condition can be helped.

Haven House Children's Hospice

Haven House provides specialist care and support for children and young people (birth to 19 years of age) who have life-limiting and life threatening conditions. Referrals are assessed and discussed at a weekly panel meeting to determine whether the child or young person meets the criteria for care at the hospice. This service is commissioned by Barking and Dagenham CCG.

Home From Home Care

Home From Home Care is a family-led company which provides specialist residential service for adults (17+) with complex needs, including autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, PMLD, sensory impairment and associated health and mental health issues. The cost of the service is based on an assessment.

Independent Living Agency

Independent Living Agency aims to maximise the potential of individual disabled people so that they can live their own lives.

I Can Ventures (day opportunities)

I Can Ventures is for adults (18+) with learning disabilities, autism, and additional physical/sensory disabilities. Cost: £50 per day, £25 per half day. Provides group and individual activities designed to support you to learn skills for work and life. You will be able to have fun and socialise with other people whilst taking part in lots of enjoyable activities. Specific programmes are available for transition clients. We also have social enterprises and vocational activities which cater for all ages and abilities.

Just Say Parents Forum

For parents and carers of disabled children and young people, and those with SEN.


Mencap works with people with a learning disability to change laws, challenge prejudice and support them to live their lives as they choose.

Mobility Services

Mobility Services can help with Blue Badges, Taxicards and Freedom Passes. 

020 8227 2334 or 020 8227 2325.

The Mullberry Bush Organisation

Mullberry Bush is a specialist therapeutic residential provision. On site National Curriculum education. Family support and intervention. Genuine early intervention to achieve excellent outcomes.

TreeHouse School

Age range: 3 to 19 years. Eligibility: Local authority, parents or self referral, where a diagnosis of autism or a related communication disorder has been made. Cost by arrangement. Learners are funded by local authorities, usually from education budgets with some input from social care and / or health as best meets the young person’s needs. Personal budgets can be used for the service.

TreeHouse School website.

Richard House Children's Hospice

Richard House Children’s Hospice supports children and their families in east London to lead as happy a life as possible when dealing with a life-limiting health condition.

Portage and Early Support

Portage and Inclusion is an education service for pre-school children with additional needs, run by the Children’s Services department and NHS Barking and Dagenham.

Alibon Children's Centre, 175 Sterry Road, Dagenham RM10 8PT

020 8724 8550

Rainbow Trust Children's Charity

Rainbow Trust supports over 25% of the 6,000 families in England who have a child aged 0 to 18 years of age with a life threatening or terminal illness. It supports the whole family 24/7, 365 days a year, regardless of diagnosis.


Scope is a charity that exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Sycamore Trust

Sycamore Trust is a voluntary organisation that aims to support the needs of families, carers and friends of children with autistic spectrum disorders.

The Communication Trust

The Communication Trust  supports people who works with children and young people to support their speech, language and communication.

The Heathway Centre

Heathway Centre is designed to be fully inclusive. All services have been developed in consultation with families.

The Vine Respite Services

Vine Respite Services is for children and young people aged 8 to 18 years with additional needs and challenging behaviour specialising, in autism.


The Way2Say group delivers the picture exchange communication system and supports implementation.

27 to 29 Woodward Road, Dagenham RM9 4SJ

020 8517 9317 / 020 8262 5330

Cochlear Implanted Children’s Support Group

The CICS Group was set up to help families, wherever they are, whose children are so deaf that they do not derive sufficient benefit from conventional hearing aids. The vast majority of these children will be suitable for a cochlear implant, a surgically implanted device that, with the right support. 

CICS is an entirely voluntary group run by parents who recognise that there is no one approach that will suit all children.  CICS is the only national voluntary charity for families considering a cochlear implant for their deaf child

020 8876 8605

Independent supporters

Carers of Barking and Dagenham

Carers of Barking and Dagenham and Barnardos London Independent Support Service (BLISS) can offer support and guidance to parents and carers who have children with special educational needs or young people with special educational needs. They are able to offer information and guidance on the following:

  • education, health and care (EHC) plans
  • converting statements into EHC assessments
  • supporting families and young people to explore aspirations and outcomes
  • information about personal budgets
  • attending meetings with you during the EHC process

Barnardos London Independent Support Service (BLISS)

Suite One, 49-51 The Broadway, London E15 4BQ

020 8555 1880

Barnardo’s has been selected by The Council for Disabled Children on behalf of the Department for Education to provide  an additional resource to young people and parents during the implementation of the SEND reforms. It will provide independent supporters to work directly with young people and the parents of children being assessed for a new EHC plan and those converting from a statement of SEN.

Participation and empowerment for parents

Just Say Parents’ Forum

The Just Say Parents’ Forum is the main parent and carer forum in Barking and Dagenham. It’s for parents and carers of disabled children and young people, and those with special educational needs (SEN).

Just Say Parent's Forum terms of reference (PDF, 29KB)

The forum supports you to have a say in deciding how services are provided, to make sure that resources are directed to the services parents and families value. The aim is to work towards improving the support and advice offered to, and confidence of, parents and carers in the borough, and to make recommendations to the council and its partner agencies on what is needed to improve children’s wellbeing.

The forum is part of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF).

Just Say annual conference

We had some great feedback from the conference; read our analysis:

Just Say annual conference report (PDF, 273 KB)

Here are some highlights:

“We absolutely need this conference. It’s informative and a chance for social gathering. Amanda Hind was the BEST today”

“Another amazing forum with lots of new information. I love getting together with other parents and hearing and sharing our experiences and challenges. I look forward to the next meeting. Enjoyed hearing Amanda and Viv’s experiences and knowledge”

“The conference has helped a lot of parents to come together to understand their child’s needs”

Join the forum

f you would like to become a member of the forum or would like further information, contact the chair of the forum:

Trinity School Parents’ Forum

Available to parents and carers who have a child at Trinity School.

Trinity School, Heathway, Dagenham RM10 7SJ

020 3435 5955

Information, Advice and Support Service

The Information, Advice and Support Service provides support, advice and information for parents and carers of children who are disabled, may have SEN or have already been identified with SEN.

Participation and empowerment for young people

Young adults who are disabled or have special educational needs can expect to have information, advice and support to make sure they fully participate in all decisions about their support, and also have the opportunity to say how overall local provision for other young people should be.

Local authorities have duties to provide young people with information and advice on matters relating to SEN and disability. This could include:

  • local policy and practice
  • the local offer
  • personalisation and personal budgets
  • law on SEN and disability health and social care and suitability
  • independently trained staff
  • advice for young people on gathering, understanding and interpreting information and applying it to their own situation
  • local SEN youth forums, disability groups, or training events
  • parents’ views are not used as a proxy for young people’s views

Barking and Dagenham already has a Young People’s Progress Forum as well as the BAD (Barking and Dagenham) Youth Parliament to influence service design and delivery, and will be establishing a young adults’ support, advice and information service. The Progress Forum has identified that information will be best accessed through youth clubs (for those who go).

If you are a young adult  (aged 16 to 25) with SEN or who is disabled, you will be able to find out about opportunities to get information, advice and support. You will also find information on:

  • Participating in partnership with the local authority and partners in service design and delivery
  • Becoming empowered in relation to being involved in planning in relation to your needs and wider service development and delivery

The Advisory Partners

The Advisory Partners is a self-advocacy group for young people and adults who have a learning disability.

Young People’s Development Forum

The Young People’s Development Forum works to support young people who are disabled or have special educational needs, to have an influence on service improvement and development. The forum has looked at a number of issues including: volunteering, anti-bullying, employment and training, barriers to participation, short breaks, and transport.

Ab Phab

Ab Phab aim to support and empower young people to progress from dependence to their wished level of independence.

The Sycamore Trust

The Sycamore Trust offers a range of services to support families and individuals affected by autism and learning difficulties.

Money and benefits advice

If you are receiving Universal Credit and you think you will struggle to budget for your rent or you already have rent arrears, our Welfare Reform Team can provide you with personal budgeting support. They can advise you about Universal Credit payment arrangements and options for additional financial support based on your circumstances.

If you’re having trouble paying your Council Tax or rent, contact us as soon as possible for advice on any help we may be able to provide.

More guidance is available in our money and debt pages.

Welfare Reform Team

020 8724 2115

Welfare benefits advice providers

Carers of Barking & Dagenham provides welfare benefits advice, helping ensure carers and their cared for receive the benefits they are entitled to.

Disablement Association of Barking and Dagenham (DABD) has a friendly, helpful team able to help you with questions about benefit and tax credit entitlements.

Barking & Dagenham Citizens’ Advice Bureau offers support for a variety of benefits and money advice, as well as specialist money advice.

Fair Finance provides free debt advice.

Benefit calculator

Use an online benefits calculator to estimate the benefits you may be entitled to.

Benefits for additional needs

Direct payments

If your child is receiving care services, you might be able to get direct payments – funding to pay for them directly – instead of the council providing the service. With this money, you can buy services to  meet the assessed needs from whoever you like, as long as they don’t live at the same address as you.

Carers of Barking & Dagenham provides guidance on direct payments and paying for care.

Disability Living Allowance

You could be eligible for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if your child requires additional help with personal care or mobility because of long-term health problems, that mean they need substantially more care or supervision than children of the same age without the health problem.

Disabled Students’ Allowances

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is available to help students in higher education with the extra costs they may incur on their course because of a disability. This can include an ongoing health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia. Students apply through Student Finance England.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you’re aged 16 to 64.

Carer’s Allowance

If you are aged over 16 and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone getting Disability Living Allowance, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.

Disabled Persons Freedom Pass

The Disabled Persons Freedom Pass is for people who have a permanent disability that imposes a mobility problem or who are registered as blind.

Child Tax Credit

You may be able to claim Child Tax Credit if you’re responsible for children aged 16 or under or under 20 and in eligible education or training.

Child Benefit

You can claim Child Benefit if you’re responsible for one or more children under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). There’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

Working Tax Credit

You could get Working Tax Credit if you’re aged from 16 to 24 and have a child or a qualifying disability or if you’re 25 or over, with or without children.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is replacing 6 existing benefits with a single monthly payment into your bank account. If you are resident in Barking and Dagenham your eligibility to claim Universal Credit depends on your personal circumstances.

Family Fund

Family Fund supports families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people aged 17 and under.