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The Right Help at the Right Time for Children with Disabilities in Newport - findings from an evaluation of the Children with Additional Needs Service

Report | June 2016

Families of children with disabilities in the UK, in particular children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), often find it hard to access sufficiently specific parenting or family support before problems reach a seemingly unmanageable or crisis stage.

An innovative service provided in partnership between Newport City Council and Barnardo's and recently evaluated by IPC is aiming to provide a better calibrated, holistic and evidence based response to the needs of children with a cognitive or physical impairment and their families just below traditional thresholds for a statutory Social Worker-led plan.

Many of the predominantly younger aged children referred to the service to date have a form of ASD or signs of ASD and families who are not coping well for a variety of reasons. Across the UK, these children and families have often been excluded from local authority support because they don’t quite fit the ‘Child in Need’ criteria (now defunct in Wales) . Without support, their needs can become more severe, particularly as challenging children become challenging teenagers, and can easily result in far more extensive formal respite or even residential care placements.