Direct Payments and Personal Budgets

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 Care and Support.

What are Direct Payments?

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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 1231 116.

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