Getting help with Social Care

This page is intended as a basic introduction to social care for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND.   You will find much more detailed and extensive information about social care and SEND in Hertfordshire on the Hertfordshire SEND Local Offer website Here

Every local authority must by law have an online SEND Local Offer which covers education, social care and health services available to children and young people in Hertfordshire.

Social Care is an umbrella term for a range of services and support that is provided either directly by the Local Authority or more likely by an outside organisation but has been arranged and funded by the Local Authority.  Social Care is NOT just about safeguarding children and adults it is also about helping them to lead fulfilling lives.

In Hertfordshire, social care support for children and young people with disabilities is managed by the 0 – 25 Together service

The second type of arrangement of care & services from an outside provider is when the Local Authority has bought (commissioned) so many hours, sessions or days from them and this is done by the 0 – 25 SEND commissioning team.

When a service or hours of care are arranged personally for your child or young person it is done by the 0 – 25 Brokerage team.

The SEND Local Offer website has full details on who is eligible for social care support and how to apply. You do not need to have a Social worker or be referred by anyone to apply for support, you just need to fill in the form on the Herts SEND Local Offer website.

Social care in Hertfordshire is made up of the following:

Short Breaks

Short breaks offer disabled children and young people the chance to spend time out with others socialising and doing fun activities, giving their families a break and providing them with the confidence their child is well supported by a trained worker.

They range from play and leisure activities provided through community groups and leisure providers to overnight stays.

Direct Payments

After an assessment, some families may receive direct payments. This is money given to a parent of a child with a disability, or to a young person with a disability aged 16 or 17. This allows you to pay directly for support.

To get direct payments, the child or young person must be:

  • between 0-18 years old
  • living in Hertfordshire
  • have a disability as defined by the Children Act and the HCC Joint Disability Strategy. 


This is a service that provides care in the home for families who are assessed as needing extra help.  This might be with personal care such as bathing, toileting, feeding or challenging behaviour.

It may also cover supporting the child/young person to go out and take part in activities in the local community such as going to the park, swimming, an interest group or various leisure activities.

Shared Care

This is family-based care that provides short breaks to Disabled Children and Young People from 4-18 years of age. Carers are from a wide variety of backgrounds and can be individuals or couples, male or female, with or without children and may have pets, some carers work others may be retired.

The breaks can be provided:

  • in the child’s home as a sitting service to enable parents to go out / have some free time
  • as day care in the carers home
  • out in the community to access activities.

Residential care

Some young people with disabilities and complex health needs may be eligible for a residential short break especially if they require support throughout the night.

Children and young people can stay overnight during the week and/or at weekends depending on their assessed needs, spending time away from their main carers. A residential short break may be provided in a community residential setting or the home of an approved carer.

A residential short break is a specialist service, available only once a social work assessment of need has been completed. This assessment would be arranged via referral through the 0-25 Together Service.