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Direct Payments for Children and Young People

The following information relates to children and young people up to the age of eighteen years. For young people aged eighteen and over, arrangements for Direct Payments and Personal Budgets are administered by Adult Services.

What are Direct Payments?


Direct Payments are payments that are paid to the parent or carer of a disabled child, or to a disabled young person up to 18 years of age. It enables them to either arrange and pay for their own support and services or to receive support from an independent sector provider.

Direct Payments will allow you to employ your own staff to provide care and support for your child or young person, instead of receiving assistance arranged from Cornwall Council.

A Direct Payment can offer greater choice and control over how you manage your child’s needs and can provide increased independence for a young disabled person.

There is no charge involved in choosing Direct Payments and your entitlement to welfare benefits will not be affected.

  • Anyone who has parental responsibility for a disabled child and any young disabled person aged up to 18; and
  • An assessment has been undertaken by your social care worker, confirming there is an identified need and additional social care support is required. Direct Payments will then form part of the child’s care plan.

Direct Payments can be used to purchase a service that meets the identified assessed need of disabled children and young people.

Most families employ a personal assistant to provide care and support and, for example to accompany the child or young person to social or leisure activities.

Direct Payments can also be used for accessing short breaks.

You have a responsibility to ensure that the Direct Payment funds are spent only on the needs identified in the child’s Care Plan.

The Care Plan will be reviewed as and when the child / young person’s needs change and this may impact upon the amount of Direct Payment hours which have been agreed. Please notify your social care worker if your child / young person’s needs have changed.

If a child or young person is eligible, an assessment is undertaken by a social care worker.

If considered eligible for support and services, a Direct Payment is one way of meeting the needs that have been identified.

If Direct Payments are to be used, Cornwall Council still has a duty to ensure that the services safeguard and promote the welfare of the child or young person and the Council will arrange for all personal assistants to follow the enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checking process.

If you are the parent/carer of a disabled child and you would like an assessment, please contact the Multi Agency Referral Unit (MARU) on 0300 1234 116.

The above information is also available in our Direct Payments Leaflet which is available for you to download and print.

The Children and Families Act 2014 has changed the way in which support can be provided for young people and children with special educational needs. The main changes are set out within the Local Offer pages on the Family Information Service website.

Cornwall Council and NHS Kernow are committed to supporting young people and children and their families to have more involvement, choice and flexibility over the services and support that is provided in respect of their special educational needs. Personal budgets and direct payments for some children and young people with special educational needs are being developed to support this.

A personal budget sets out the additional support available to a child or young person which is required to carry out the provision identified in an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan. Young people and families can request a personal budget when an EHC plan is being prepared or reviewed.

For 2014/15 a personal health budget will only include the children’s continuing care element of funding, which may not be included in the education, health and care plan.  From April 2015 this may be extended to include long term conditions and mental health.

The details of the Personal Budget Policy are currently being finalised and will be published on this website and NHS Kernow’s website. In the meantime if you require further information on your eligibility to be assessed or have any other questions please contact:

  • Jenny Barclay 01872 322083 (Education)
  • Jude Bowler 07919 692274 (Health)
  • Alison Bancroft 01872 327483 (Social Care)

We have prepared a Personal Budgets Leaflet which is available for you to download and print. 

Education, Health and Social Care

Direct Payments for Children & Young People
Personalisation Support Team
39 Penwinnick Road
St Austell
PL25 5DR

01872 323059