SEN Reforms Important information for the Voluntary and Community sector**Current**
The new Children and Families Act will be implemented in September 2014. This is the most important piece of legislation affecting children and young people for decades.
The reforms are wide ranging. It will give greater protection to vulnerable children, better support for children whose parents are separating, a new system to help children with special educational needs and disabilities, and help for parents to balance work and family life.
In terms of children and young people with special educational needs, the law will:
replace the current statutory assessment and Learning Difficulty assessments with a co-ordinated Education, Health and Care Assessment for children with significant learning difficulties between the ages of 0 - 25;
require the Local Authority to publish a Local Offer across education, health and care. This will have implications for any service that provides information, advice and support to children, young people and their families.
improve the transition arrangements for young people into adulthood including education, training, apprenticeships, independent or supported living, leisure activities and involvement in the community.
What are the key messages for the Voluntary and Community sector?
The Local Offer
We recognise the valuable contribution the VCS make to local communities and are committed to supporting the voluntary and community sector in County Durham. Children, young people, young adults and their families need access to information about any provider that supports children and young people with special educational needs. The development of the Local Offer will ensure that this information is easily available.
The Local Offer will be published on the Families Information Service website and we encourage any organisation that provides information, advice and support to children and young people and their families to:
a) register their service on the Families Information Service website;
b) review any on-line or website information so that it provides sufficient detail about the service including general information, any eligibility criteria and costs for families.
Further details are included in the attached letter.
Education, Health and Care Plans
The Education, Health and Care assessment process has been agreed in Durham and we are piloting that process with a small number of families before the reforms are implemented in September.
Alongside that, we are also considering which parts of the budgets across Education, Health and Care can be included in a personal budget for families.
A specification for an independent mediation service has been produced and a contract will be awarded, through competitive tendering, by May 2014.
A lot of work has been undertaken and you will be kept informed as further work is completed.
Toddler Group Newton Aycliffe **Current**