Parent carer needs assessment

Parent carers needs assessment

How to request an assessment

Request a parent carer assessment >>

Download our needs assessment form (PDF 660.4KB) and fill it in. You can then email it to: You can also return it by post to:

Central Bedfordshire Council
Ivel Valley Hub
The Baulk
SG18 0PT

Telephone: 0300 300 8314

If you need support urgently, please contact the Access and Referral Hub:

Telephone: 0300 300 8585
Telephone (out of hours): 0300 300 8123


Important provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014 for parent carers of disabled children and young carers came into force on 1 April 2015.

There is no new right to services for parent carers of disabled children, as there is for family carers of disabled adults under the Care Act. What we have for parent carers of disabled children is a new assessment duty – and one that should lead to a better informed decision about the holistic package of support that disabled children and their families need.

Section 97 inserted three new sections into the Children Act 1989, with effect from 1 April 2015.

Assessment duty: Section 17ZD

Section 17ZD is the assessment duty. It requires us to carry out a parent carers needs assessment (PCNA) where it looks like the parent carer may have needs for support or we receive a request from the parent carer to assess, and we're satisfied that the disabled child and family are eligible for support under section 17. When carrying out a parent carer's needs assessment, we must involve:

  • the parent carer
  • any child for whom the parent carer has parental responsibility
  • any person who the parent carer requests the authority to involve

Section 17ZE supplements the assessment duty by:

  • making clear that providing care includes providing practical or emotional support (sub-section 2)
  • allowing for the PCNA to be combined with any other assessment of the parent carer or disabled child (sub-section 3)

Consideration of assessments: Section 17ZF

Section 17ZF is titled "Consideration of parent carers’ needs assessments". This is the "so what?" duty – having done the PCNA, what do we need to do with it? The answer is that we must consider the assessment and decide whether the parent carer has needs for support in relation to the care which he or she provides or intends to provide; whether the disabled child cared for has needs for support. If yes, whether or not to provide any such services in relation to the parent carer or the disabled child. Importantly however, in carrying out every PCNA, we must have regard to the well-being of the parent carer and the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the disabled child cared for and any other child for whom the parent carer has parental responsibility; section 17ZD(10). Parent carers have the rights to stand-alone assessments and new rights to services under the Children and Families Act 2014. This Act amends the Children Act 1989 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). In addition to this duty, we also has the following responsibilities:

  • identification of parent carers through reasonable steps
  • to provide parent carers with information about their rights so that they can make informed decisions about their lives
  • assess whether a parent carer has needs for support and if so, what these are (the assessment must focus on the well-being of the parent carer)
  • determine whether it is appropriate for the parent to provide, or continue to provide, care for the disabled child, in the light of the parent’s needs for support, other needs and wishes

Threshold Criteria/Process

Can I ask for a parent carer assessment?

The criteria for assessment as a parent carer are primarily and statutorily linked to being able to identify the children as one with a disability.

We use the statutory Children Act 1989 definition of disability.

For the purposes of the duties to vulnerable children and their families, the definition of disability as set out in Children Act 1989 section 17 (11) is applicable – "A child is disabled if he/she is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from a mental disorder

of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or

congenital deformity or other disability that maybe prescribed."

You are a parent carer if you provide care to a child under 18 who suffers from the following:

  • blind: Where a child is registered blind or partially sighted
  • deaf: Where a child is registered deaf or hard of hearing
  • dumb: Where a child has lost the ability to speak or was born without the ability to speak
  • congenital deformity: This includes a broad range of congenital abnormalities existing from birth. Although these abnormalities are permanent in nature, some may not cause substantial need
  • mental disorder: Any disability of the mind as defined in the Mental Health Act 2007 and including developmental disorders such as ADHD, Autism, Asperger Syndrome and OCD
  • illness: The child / young person has a substantial and permanent disability caused by illness e.g. polio or injury caused by a car accident or self harm
  • learning disability: The child/young person has a substantial and permanent learning disability (defined as a state of arrested or incomplete development of the mind which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning)

In this statutory definition, the reference "of any kind" refers to blind, deaf, dumb or mental disorders and the reference "Substantially and permanently" refers to handicapped, illness, injury or congenital deformity or other disability. In all situations when determining if a child has a disability, the effect of the impairment needs to be considered (Equality Act 2010). The child will be considered to have a disability if the impairment has lasted for at least 12 months, is likely to last for at least another 12 months or it is likely to last for the rest of the person's life.

The Equality Act sets out the following exclusion from the definition: Addiction to, or dependency on, alcohol, nicotine, or any other substance (other than in consequence of the substance being medically prescribed).

Mental disorders have their own definition and criteria as set out in the Mental Health Act 2007 in which the test for medical treatment includes the nature and degree (both of which have definitions).

The definition of mental disorder was changed by the MHA 2007, as of 3 November 2008, so that it is no longer split into the four classifications of mental illness, psychopathic disorder, mental impairment and severe mental impairment. It now states that "mental disorder" means any disorder or disability of the mind.

Any parent carer is entitled to an assessment if they feel they are or will be in need of support. The assessment will be carried about by the local authority in which that child lives.

Do I have to have a statutory assessment to get support?

A parent carer is entitled to a statutory assessment to determine the level of need which will inform support options, may agree to their needs considered within the assessment of their disabled child or may choose to consider a range of other support options available from universal and targeted services and/or early help services.

How is an assessment completed?

Fill in our assessment form and return it to us. Once received, we'll use this assessment to determine what your needs are and how best to meet these needs. One of our support workers will compile a personal support plan and contact you to discuss this.

When we are working with you to assess your needs, we will:

  • ask for your input and opinions
  • offer advice, and if necessary, provide support to help you
  • involve other organisations to get their views, if that is what you want
  • keep you up to date with progress

When we are working with you to assess your needs, we ask you to:

  • give accurate answers about your current situation
  • keep us up to date about any changes to your circumstances or support needs
  • take an active part in deciding what your support needs are if you are able
  • involve important people in your life in the assessment if you want to

What does a good assessment look like?

A good parent carer assessment takes into account the views of the parent carer and the views of other relevant professionals or people who may know the family where appropriate. The assessment process should be used to consider the parent carer’s:

  • circumstances - partnership arrangements (if any) between parent carers, any additional caring responsibilities for wider family, and any contributions from other family members to caring tasks
  • carer’s tasks - the routine tasks which each carer undertakes including personal care, washing, dressing, feeding, laundry etc. and the span of these throughout the day/night
  • impact of the caring role – the degree to which caring has a bearing (now and in the foreseeable future) on the emotional and physical health and wellbeing of the carer, on family relationships and leisure opportunities, education/training and in expressing their faith
  • the carer’s views – what services does the person hope to receive that will benefit the disabled child which would also service to improve their own quality of life

The assessment must also determine whether it is appropriate for the parent to provide, or continue to provide, care for the disabled child, in the light of the parent’s needs for support, other needs and wishes; and determine whether any other child for whom the parent has parental responsibility, has welfare needs.

What support can I expect after the assessment is completed?

The assessment is the tool by which the parent carers' needs are understood, where those needs are complex and as a result, the assessment is the most appropriate means of identifying which needs should be met by the Council. This may include:

advice and signposting for best use of universal and targeted services

  • a one-off payment to meet a specific need (S17 payment)
  • short breaks via direct Payments to support the carer in the caring role e.g. daytime care in the homes of disabled children or elsewhere, overnight care in the homes of disabled children or elsewhere, educational or leisure activities for disabled children outside their homes, and services available to assist carers in the evenings, at weekends and during the school holidays
  • if the assessment outcome is that your needs can be met within your community, additional support services will not be made available. Your worker will provide you with information to help you access local service and if you feel it necessary, help you make these links
  • if services under Children Act 1989 (s17) are required to meet the needs of your child or children in addition to your needs as a carer and are agreed with you, this may require an additional assessment of your child. This will be completed within 45 working days from the date this decision was made

Where an assessment has been completed, the parent carer must be provided with a written record of the assessment.