Find out more about Parent Carer Needs Assessments, including what they are, who is eligible for an assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Parent Carer’s Need Assessment?

The aim of a parent carer’s needs assessment is to give you a chance to tell professionals in Doncaster about the things that could make looking after your disabled child easier for you.

The assessment focuses on you as a parent and your needs. We will discuss issues such as the help you need, and whether there is anyone else who helps or if you are your child’s only carer.

The parent carer’s needs assessment will also consider your wellbeing, including health and safety issues, and important commitments like relationships and employment.

What the law says

The Children and Families Act 2014 amended the Children Act 1989 (sections17ZD, 17ZE12 and 17ZF). Under it, local authorities must assess parent carers if:

  • ‘it appears to the authority that the parent carer may have needs for support’,

  Or if they

  • ‘receive a request from the parent carer to assess their need for support.’

The Act also says that:

A parent carer’s needs assessment must include an assessment of whether it is appropriate for the parent carer to provide, or continue to provide, care for the disabled child, in the light of the parent carer’s needs for support, other needs and wishes. (Children and Families Act 2014 section17ZD (9))

They must also take into account:

  • ‘the well-being of the parent carer’


  • ‘the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the disabled child cared for and any other child for whom the parent carer has parental responsibility.’

The Wellbeing Duty (Children and Families Act 2014 section17ZD (10))

This ‘wellbeing’ duty is an important addition. It means local authorities must consider a person’s:

  • personal dignity and respect
  • physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • protection from abuse and neglect
  • control by the individual over day-to-day life
  • participation in work, education, training or recreation
  • social and economic wellbeing
  • domestic, family, and personal relationships
  • suitability of living accommodation
  • contribution to society.

Who is eligible for a Parent Carers Needs Assessment?

If you are a parent looking after a disabled child and you have Parental Responsibility for that child then you can have a Parent Carer Needs Assessment. This includes non-birth parents, such as relatives who have gained Parental Responsibility for a child through a legal process.

The Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 remains in force for other family members who are providing care to a disabled child. For example, a grandparent, aunt or uncle who provide care, but does not have parental responsibility for the child. If this is the case, you may be able to access assessments if you are providing substantial and regular care (usually defined as 35 hours or more care per week).

When can I ask for a Parent Carers Needs Assessment?

All parent carers have a right to ask for an assessment of their needs at any time. You can also have your needs re-assessed if you have had a previous Parent Carer Needs Assessment and your needs or circumstances have changed.

However, if your disabled child is having an assessment of their needs then this should also take into account the needs of the rest of the family members, including parents and siblings. It should consider your needs as a carer and your capacity to continue with caring. The Lead Professional who is working with your family should complete a Parent Carers Needs Assessment with you in addition to them considering your needs as a carer in your child’s assessment, when planning services to meet your child’s needs and when reviewing their plan.

If your disabled child hasn’t had an assessment of their needs then you can request one. You don’t need to have a diagnosis for your child to get an assessment or help from Doncaster Council and partner agencies. If your child needs help or support, an assessment of their needs can be completed by any professional who is working with your family via an Early Help Assessment.   

You can request an assessment of your child’s needs by calling Doncaster Children’s Services on 01302 734110 or by completing the online enquiry form for Early Help.

Whilst it is best practice to consider the whole family in an early help or children and families assessment, we recognise there are times when parent carers need to have an assessment in their own right (stand-alone assessment).

In Doncaster, we also offer stand-alone assessments. These assessments will be completed by trained practitioners called Early Help Coordinators. You can make a request for a stand-alone assessment via the Early Help Coordinator Team on 01302 736250 or via email

Professionals working with families of disabled children living in Doncaster should explain to Parent Carers what a Parent Carers Need Assessment is and consider the most appropriate route to meet the whole family needs.    

How will a Parent Carer Needs Assessment be completed?

In partnership with Doncaster Parents Voice, we have co-produced a Parent Carer Needs Assessment for Doncaster. This assessment will be completed by a worker in partnership with you. These are additional questions which complement an Early Help Assessment or a Children and Families Assessment but can also be used as a stand-alone assessment. 

You will be asked to complete a consent form and will be given the Privacy Notice to inform you how your information will be used and secured safely.

The information you provide will remain confidential between you and the worker unless you share anything that they are concerned poses a risk to your child/ren, yourself or others. In these circumstances, they will be required to share the information with the Manager or Senior Worker in the team and if there may be an immediate risk then they will contact Doncaster Children’s Services to discuss their concerns.

Once the assessment has been completed, a Parent Support Plan can be completed either in conjunction with other family plans or as a stand-alone plan.  The professional will work in partnership with you to identify appropriate actions to be completed by them, or yourself, or referrals to other services.

They will complete the Parent Support Plan and then ask you to consent to the information being shared with any relevant agencies.   

What will happen after the Parent Carer Needs Assessment has been completed?

If your Parent Carer Needs Assessment has been completed with an early help or children and families assessment, your support plan will be coordinated as part of the family plan. Where it can be reviewed and updated if your child’s needs, your family circumstances or your caring responsibilities change.

If your Parent Carer Needs Assessment has been completed as a stand-alone assessment, an Early Help Coordinator will work with you ensure the right support is in place.

It may be decided that there is no need for services, which could result in your Parent Carer Needs Assessment being completed with no unmet need identified.  If you disagree with this decision, you can challenge it using the Doncaster Council’s complaints procedure and professional can tell you how to do this.

What happens as my child gets older?

When disabled children and young people prepare for the transition to adult services it is important that their Parent Carers have support and appropriate services during this period. They have rights to an assessment under the Care Act 2014. This is called a child’s carer’s assessment ‘in transition’. When these assessments take place isn’t specified in the Act, but it states that they should take place when of most `significant benefit’ to the young person or carer.

You can contact the Transistions Team, part of the Adult Learning Disability Service on 01302 736705.

Further information can be found on Transition to Adulthood - Doncaster Council webpage. 

Further Information

Carers UK have information on a range of issues affecting carers on their website.

Contact a Family is a national charity for families with disabled children who provide information, advice and support including carer’s issues. 

Doncaster Carers Information provide information on local support and services available to all carers living in Doncaster.

Doncaster Local Offer website has information on services available for disabled children, young people and families.

Last updated: 24 January 2023 09:29:19

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