Q&As

Does a local authority have an obligation to provide continued respite services to a child with severe learning difficulties and autism who has reached 18 and the child’s parents have requested continuation of these services?

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Published on LexisPSL on 21/06/2017

The following Local Government Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Does a local authority have an obligation to provide continued respite services to a child with severe learning difficulties and autism who has reached 18 and the child’s parents have requested continuation of these services?
  • SEN framework
  • Transition to adult care and support
  • Duty to offer short breaks

SEN framework

Under the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014) a local authority has a duty to carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment and issue an EHC plan in certain circumstances—see Practice Note: Special educational needs in England under the Children and Families Act 2014. Once special educational provision has been specified in an EHC plan, the local authority has a legal duty to provide it. The previous framework which relates to statements of special educational needs under the Education Act 1996 contained a similar requirement, meaning a local authority is bound to provide the provision that is set in in the EHC plan or statement.

The Code of Practice for special educational needs and disability from 0 to 25 years sets out that a local authority must provide a local offer which must include information about provision made by health professionals for children and young people with SEN or disabilities. This should include (among other things):

  1. palliative and respite care and other provision for children with complex health needs

  2. support for young people when moving between healthcare services for children to healthcare services

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