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Direct Payments and Personal Budgets for children and young people

What are Direct Payments?

Direct Payments are paid to the parent or carer of a disabled child, or to disabled young person up to 18 years of age. It enables them to either:

  • arrange and pay for their own support and services
  • receive support from an independent sector provider

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

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

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

Who can receive Direct Payments?

  • Anyone who has parental responsibility for a disabled child or young 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.

What can Direct Payments be used for?

Direct Payments can be used to buy a service or support that meets the identified assessed needs of disabled children and young people. This could 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 enable your child or young person to access activities, increase their independence, as detailed in their 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 or 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.

How are Direct Payments accessed?

An assessment of need is undertaken by a social 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.

Direct Payments Information Leaflets and Payments Policy 

If your family already has a direct payment:

What is a Personal Budget?

Personal budgets are designed to give children, young people and their families choice, control, flexibility and independence.

Personal budgets are resources that may come from education or social care which families can use to support their disabled child or young person’s assessed needs.

The NHS is also making Personal Health Budgets available to anyone assessed as eligible for Children’s Continuing Care.

A personal budget can be used to access services from the statutory and independent or voluntary sector providers, mixing and matching what is available from organisations to best meet your child or young person’s needs.

Guide to Personal Budgets and Personal Budget StatementsWho can have a Personal Budget?

To be eligible to receive a personal budget, children and young people must be assessed as requiring social care or have special educational needs.

They must also be involved in the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process, and they must be resident in Cornwall.

What can a Personal Budget be used for?

A personal budget can be used for any provision or service that has been identified as a need in the child or young person’s care plan.

Following an assessment, a person of your own choosing can work alongside your child, young person and their family to develop a Person Centred Support Plan. Alternatively, you may choose to write a Support Plan yourself. Or you may prefer to work with a Support Brokerage organisation. We have a list of approved providers you can choose from.

The Person-Centred Support Plan sets out how you want to be supported and how you would like the personal budget to be used. Family and friends may be involved in this decision making if that would be of help.

Allocation of a personal budget will not affect any benefits that your child, young person or family is receiving as it is not classed as additional income.

Further information

Contact - a charity for families with disabled children

You can find information on their website about the difference between personal budgets and direct payments  

Contact's website

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