Direct Payments and Personal Budgets for children and young people

Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.


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 Social Care.

What are Direct Payments?

Direct Payments are payments that are paid to the parent / carer of a disabled child or young person up to 18 years of age. It enables them to arrange and pay for their own support and services or 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 help 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 apply for 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 the disabled children and young person. 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 / 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 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 is undertaken by a social care worker. If your child / 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, we have a duty to make sure that the service safeguards and promotes the welfare of your child / young person. We will arrange and pay for Personal Assistants to obtain an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

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

  • Download our current Direct Payments Policy
  • Information, forms, guides and rescue medication policies for families already receipt of Direct Payments

What is a Personal Budget?

Personal Budgets give children, young people and their families choice, control, flexibility and independence.

Personal Budgets are funds that come from education or social care, which families can use to support their disabled child / young person’s assessed needs.

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

Personal budgets can be used to access services from the statutory and independent or voluntary sector providers. You can mix and match what is available from organisations to best meet your child / young person’s needs.

Guide to Personal Budgets and Personal Budget Statements.

Who can have a Personal Budget?

Children and young people must be:

  • assessed as requiring social care and / or special educational needs
  • in the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process
  • 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 choosing can work with your child / young person to develop a Person Centred Support Plan. Or you may choose to write a Support Plan yourself. 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.

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.

Personal Budget Policy

View our Policy for Personal Budgets for children and young people who have an education, health and care plan.

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