If you receive a personal budget for your child or young person, a direct payment is one way to manage the funds.
If your child is eligible for specialist services through a Social Care Plan for disabled children, or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), you can request to receive direct payments instead of the existing services commissioned by us (Hertfordshire County Council).
Direct payments for health
The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have their own Direct Payment arrangements for eligible children. That is not covered by this guidance except where a support package is jointly funded with health.
Who can have direct payments?
Direct payments are usually for those children who have very complex needs and require specialist support.
To get direct payments, the child or young person must:
- be between 0-18 years old
- be living in Hertfordshire
- have a social care plan, child in need plan, a short breaks plan for disabled children or an EHCP
- be willing and able to manage direct payments (or their parents/ carers must be)
If you have an EHCP and receive direct payments for educational use, you can receive direct payments until the EHCP stops (even if it continues beyond 18) where the provision covered by the direct payment is agreed to continue.
For social care use, the Adult Care Services policy applies from the person’s 18th birthday.
Using your direct payments
Direct payments allow parents and young people greater flexibility and control, to employ their own workers at times convenient to them and in the way they wish, to provide an individual service to meet their needs.
You can use your direct payments to pay for a Personal Assistant, who can take your child out to enjoy activities and clubs, support them with life skills, for example preparing for adulthood, or can provide support at home. Some people say this gives them the most control over the help they get.
This can come with the responsibility of being an employer. This might sound complicated but you can get free advice about employing a personal assistant from the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity.
Direct payments can also be used to pay service provider organisations.
You can also group direct payments with other families to buy combined support/ services, for the benefit of all the children and young people receiving the payments. Speak to the Children and Young People's SEND Brokerage Team to discuss this option.