Support for disabled children and young adults

When a young person reaches 18 they will be eligible for an assessment of need in accordance with Section 47 of the NHS and Community Care Act 1990. The council determines eligibility for services using the Fair Access to Care Criteria

All adults aged 18 and over are offered the opportunity to complete a supported self assessment questionnaire and receive a personal budget (where eligible) helping them to plan and take control of their own support. As part of self directed support, an Indicative Budget will be given (where eligible) allowing the individual to develop a support plan to identify how their assessed eligible needs will be met. The plan needs to be agreed by the council. For more information visit the Self Directed Support webpages

There are three options to receiving a personal budget. It can be in the form of a direct payment, a commissioned service or a combination of both. A direct payment allows a young adult to use money received directly from the council to make their own arrangements to provide the services they have been assessed as needing.

Other support available may include:

Advocacy services

The Life Stages Service recognises the need for individuals to have access to advocacy services and support. Darlington Association on Disability are currently commissioned to provide this support within Darlington.

Assistive technology

The council can now provide a range of items that can help people to live more independently within the community. It can include items to help with visual and hearing impairments as well as helping to maintain the safety of those with a learning disability.

Carers support

When carrying out an assessment we can also look at the needs of carers. This is to make sure their needs for support, due to their caring role, are taken into account. Carers will be offered a separate assessment of their own needs. The Life Stages Service has access to its own dedicated carers support worker. For more information visit the Carers webpages. DAD Carers Support Service also offers information, support and advice to carers including signposting to specialist services.

Day opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities

The Council currently provide several day service opportunities. These include  Lakeside, Foundations and the Links. Eligibility for the services will be determined through the assessment process and can be formulated as part of the support plan where appropriate. The Council also provide services with an Employment/Training theme which are Techworx, and the Sunshine Café. At the moment these are not chargeable services. The Council also provide a Community Art service based at The Bridge. Again at this moment in time this is not a chargeable service. Eligibility for the services will be determined through the assessment process and can be formulated as part of the support plan where appropriate.


The Life Stage Services has dedicated workers to help assist young adults to identify suitable employment opportunities and support them with access to work. It has good links with the Education Village allowing staff to identify from an early age where people will need support to access employment.

General support for disabled children

Aiming High enabled Darlington to open up mainstream and targeted activities to disabled children and now there is a vibrant Sportsability group and Football group at the Dolphin Centre. There are Games and Film sessions organised by Youth workers and a local dance school has worked with a variety of disabled children. The Education Village has an afterschool youth group and Gateway has run successful evening groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays for many years. Children who need low, medium and high levels of support can access these opportunities and currently the People and Families Information Support can give you more details about opportunities for your child. The team can be contacted on 01325 406222 (option 4) or by email on


The Council manages four properties where it can offer a supported tenancy to young adults with a learning disability subject to availability. These properties are within the Darlington area and staff provide support in accordance with the needs of the residents to help maintain their safety and independence. The Life Stages Services works closely with a Housing Options Officer to identify the most suitable form of housing available to young adults. This can include a range of options including a supported tenancy, shared ownership, renting and purchasing your own home.


For young people to go with a support worker and enjoy interests and build skills. This can be provided through a specialist service or through direct payments in lieu of a service.


  • In a short break unit or with a family or within the child’s own home
  • After-school and holiday opportunities: through a flexible quota of hours per month where the family build hours for holidays or uses hours when needed after school.
  • Holiday Play Opportunities: through specialist services Voluntary and Independent or universal services who have become more confident and skilled in working with a variety of disabled children.
  • Teenage Provision: A Saturday group or an independence based project for young people to learn about travel, personal care, cooking and budgeting.


The Council has a Learning Disability Network, People's Parliament and Carers Support Group. It is keen to work with service users, carers and their representatives to ensure it delivers the best outcomes for its service users.

Person centred planning

Staff within the Life Stages Service have the skill to assist person centred planning and reviews to targeted young adults. This way of working uses tools to help identify what is important to and for the individual. This can be extremely useful when determining how best to support an individual.

Residential care

There may be some people who require care to be provided within a residential home. The council can purchase these services directly if these are needed and there are currently a small number of homes within the Darlington area who can provide this support.

Short breaks

Section 25 of the Children and Young Person Act requires local authorities to provide short breaks for families with disabled children. Regulations relating to this duty require each local authority to provide a short breaks services statement so that families know what services are available the eligibility criteria for these services, and how the range of services is designed to meet the needs of families with disabled children in their area. You can find this information in Darlington's short breaks statement [pdf document].

Short Breaks at Holicote, 93 Newton Lane for adults with learning disabilities

Young adults can access the Bungalow if they have a learning disability and physical disability. They can visit the Bungalow during the day time and/or evening seven days a week, this is called a sit-in service. They can also stay overnight or have longer breaks. The Bungalow has a lounge, a separate dining room with doors opening on to a patio and gardens, kitchen, bathroom/shower room and toilet. All areas of the bungalow can be used by someone in a wheelchair.