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 or young disabled person aged up to 18; and
  • where an assessment has been undertaken by a social worker,
    confirming there is an identified need and that additional social care intervention is required to meet those needs. The Direct Payment provision will be included in the Child Plan.

Direct Payments can be used to purchase a service or support that meets the identified assessed needs of disabled children and young people; this may be over a specified period of time or as a one-off payment.

Some families choose to employ a personal assistant to provide care and support; this may for example, enable your child or young person to access activities, or increase their independence, as detailed in their most recent Child Plan.

Direct Payments can also be used for accessing short breaks, if this has been identified as an assessed need.

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

The Child Plan will be reviewed at regular intervals where there is a change in need or change in circumstances. This may mean that Direct Payments would increase, decrease or cease. You should let your social care worker know if your child or young person’s needs have changed.

An assessment is undertaken by a social care worker. If your child or young person is eligible for social care support or services, a Direct Payment is one way of meeting the needs that have been identified.

If you choose Direct Payments, Cornwall Council has a duty to make sure that the service safeguards and promotes the welfare of your child or young person. The Council will make the arrangements, and meet the costs for 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.