Getting social care support

Social services can provide a wide range of support such as practical assistance in the home, respite care and short breaks, home adaptations, travel and other assistance.  You can find out more about social care in the NHS’s online guide.

If you require support from social care, you can ask the local authority (LA) to assess your child or young person’s social care needs as well as your own needs as a carer.

Children and young people under 18

You can find information about how to ask for an assessment for your child or young person under 18 on Contact’s website, including a model letter you can use.

If they are coming up to the age of 18, you may wish to ask for a child’s needs assessment to find out what support they may need from adult social services after they turn 18. There is further information about this on Contact’s website

Young people 18 or over

If a young person aged 18 or over requires social care support, this will be provided by adult social services. Carers UK has information on how to ask for a needs assessment for a person over 18.


You can ask for a carer’s assessment as well as an assessment for your child or young person.

Your LA must carry out an assessment of your needs for support if it appears to the LA that you may have needs for support or you make a request for an assessment of your needs for support. This means that if you make a request for this assessment your LA must carry it out – no exceptions.

A carer’s assessment focuses on the needs you may have as a parent carer. Following a carer’s assessment, your LA may be able to provide services or financial support to help you in your caring role, and/or emotional support and short breaks.

Even if your child or young person does not require support for social care, as their carer you may need support in order to help with meeting their care needs.

Carers UK have information on applying for a carer’s assessment.

For more information on this topic, see our main advice page on health and social care.