This section contains information about social care provision in Southwark.  This includes details of services available to children, young people, adults and carers.

The All-Age Disability Team provides services for children and young people aged 0-25.  This includes support in the form of a ‘care package’ of services for your child, if eligible. Services provided may include activities, short breaks, care arrangements, or a personal budget.

If we receive a referral from you or another agency about your child, a social worker will contact you.  We will discuss your child’s disability and seek your permission to request further information from other services. This may include your child’s GP, teacher or physiotherapist, if appropriate.

If a child is eligible for a service from us we will arrange to assess their developmental needs. We also consider the capacity of their parent/carer to meet those needs and the home environment.  We will discuss services available to support your child to achieve good outcomes. If your child is not eligible we will provide information on other services that can help.

After the assessment, if eligible, we will agree a ‘Care Plan’ for your child. The ‘Care Plan’ states what we will do to help meet your child’s needs. We work with you to safeguard your child’s welfare and meet their needs. This is in line with our statutory responsibilities. 

Criteria for access to service

The Southwark All Age Disability (AAD) Team will offer an assessment where an individual has a disability which is:

  • Severe and profound
  • Long lasting or permanent 


  • Has a life limiting or life threatening condition.

 A ‘severe and profound’ disability may be indicated where a child or young person requires significant additional support from another person, or equipment to carry out their basic functions such as personal or night-time care, eating and participating in activities. As an adult it is likely that they will continue to require this.

Severe and profound/substantial disabilities may include:

  • Severe learning disabilities
  • Severe physical disabilities
  • Severe developmental delay in motor and or cognitive functioning
  • Profound multiple disabilities
  • Severe sensory impairment (registered blind and profoundly deaf)
  • Complex and severe health problems that arise from the disability, that are life threatening, degenerative illness or organic disorder resulting in severe disability
  • A diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition where the condition severely adversely affects day-to-day functioning.
  • Learning disability  where the condition severely affects day-to-day functioning
  • Have a disability or physical impairment which is permanent, assessed as substantial. Having a negative impact on their ability to carry out daily activities.

Please download the eligibility criteria (pdf, 385kb) for further information.

How this is provided:

  • Home visits to complete eligibility assessments and care package/short break assessments
  • Phone advice 5 days per week between 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
  • Emergency appointments booked by phone
  • Ongoing support from a social worker to complete pieces of work

How can I access this service?

Parents/carers of children and young people aged under 18 years

Referral is via Southwark’s MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub:

Telephone: 0207 525 1921  Email:


Young people aged 18-25 years with disabilities

Referral is direct to the AAD duty team:

Telephone: 0207 525 5372  Email: 

Confidentiality and Impartiality

The service is confidential.  We will seek your permission before speaking to other professionals. If there are child protection concerns about your child we may, as part of our safeguarding duties speak to other professionals without seeking your permission.

Useful to know

We operate a daily duty service which means you will be able to speak to a social worker over the phone. If your child already has a social worker, please contact them directly on their number. If they are unavailable leave a message on their phone. and they will return your call. If urgent you can contact alternative numbers provided in their voicemail message. 

The Services
The 'front door' to Children’s Social Care services is through the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). This hub includes a number of professionals who work collaboratively, sharing information they have which supports them in making timely decisions regarding the most appropriate help needed for a child and their family. The members of the Hub will apply Southwark’s thresholds and if a decision is made that a social work assessment is required then the case will be allocated to a social worker based in the Assessment & Intervention service.

The social worker will work together with the family and other professionals who may be involved to assess the needs of the child and their carers, with a view to deciding what the future needs are. The outcome of the assessment may be that a case is closed to Social Care and Early Help services, or universal services continue to work with the family with a Team around the Child approach.

It may be the needs are more significant and the case will be transferred to a social worker in the Safeguarding & Family Support Service for ongoing intensive support.

Where there are concerns about child safety and they are assessed to be at risk of or suffering significant harm or neglect, then a Child Protection case conference will be called and the case will be transferred to the Safeguarding & Family Support service.

Who is the service for?
Children between the ages of 0 -18 living in Southwark who are in need as defined in Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

Criteria for access to service
Members of the community and professionals can report concerns they have about a child who they believe to be in need of help and support, or at risk of harm, however the decision as to whether the concerns are progressed to assessment and intervention is determined by Southwark's Threshold Guidance.

How the service is provided
The assessment will focus on the child’s developmental needs, a parent/carers capacity to meet these needs and the environment in which the family are living. The social worker and sometimes the clinical practitioner will meet with parents seeking their views. They will also want to meet with the child on their own as it is important to seek out their wishes and feeling too.

How can I access this service?
Children and Families can self-refer by telephoning MASH: 020 7525 1921.
Professionals can refer by emailing a Referral form / CAF to or call 020 7525 1921.
Professionals may also call the same number and request a consultation with a social worker if they want some advice prior to making referral.

Confidentiality and Impartiality
The service is confidential and we will seek your permission before speaking to other professionals. If there are child protection concerns about your child we may, as part of our safeguarding duties speak to other professionals.

In Southwark we want to ensure that children, young people and families receive the best possible support at times of need in order to address and resolve issues rapidly and effectively. Sometimes a child, young person or family faces a number of different problems at the same time and requires more support to resolve them.

Where needs are beyond the level that universal services can address, a range of targeted services are provided in partnership with others (children and family centres, health professionals, schools, and the voluntary sector) to continue to assist a family to prevent problems from escalating.

Our offer is delivered across the following key areas:

Making a referral

You can find information on how to make a referral here.

You'll need to complete the Early Help referral form (docx, 631kb) and send it to

Family Early Help Duty
The number is 0207 525 1922 which will give four options:

  1. General enquiries and signposting
  2. Family Early Help Duty Manager for general advice including consultations around potential and new referrals and current casework
  3. Education, Inclusion and Attendance support and advice including all enforcement activity
  4. Parenting support and advice and information on parenting course and group work programmes

 The Children with Disabilities Register is an information database which is designed to hold the contact details of disabled children and young people under the age of 18 in Southwark

The Register is used for statistical information and also helps to keep families involved in development of new services and the consultation process.  A child or young person can be added to the register by completing the Children with Disabilities Register form.

Information held on the register will include the child or young person's:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • religion
  • home address
  • telephone number
  • family’s first language
  • information in relation the child’s disability
  • parent or guardian's name

The information you provide is held confidentially and securely. To see information held about your child, please make a request at the contact address below. The register is voluntary and details of your child cannot be added without your permission. You can remove your child’s details from the register at any time.
Tel: 0207 525 1921

Contact us
All Age Disability 0-25 – Disability Register 
132 Queens Road
SE15 2ND

Carers in Southwark make a huge contribution to the lives of people in our borough. They give their time and energy every day to care for their friends and family. Carers need the best support possible to help them continue to care, remain well themselves, have choice, control and a life outside their caring responsibilities. 

Short breaks are opportunities for disabled children and young people to have time away from their families or primary carers, to relax and have fun.

They also provide parents and carers of disabled children with a necessary and valuable break from their caring responsibilities.

Short breaks can range from a few hours to an overnight break, and can take place inside the home or away from it, such as holiday, weekend or after-school activities. Click here (pdf, 132kb) to download the Short Breaks Statement.

Visit our Leisure page for information about activities, clubs and services for children and young people.

Who are short breaks for?

Short breaks may be available to those who care for a child with a disability or special needs and lives in Southwark.

The type of short break available will depend on the individual child - for example some activities are tailored for a particular age group or for a specific need, such as autism. The level of support a child and their family is entitled to depends on the severity and nature of the child’s disability. The support is categorised into three levels:

  1. Universal services -These are short breaks that are available to all children in Southwark, whether disabled or not.
  2. Targeted services - These are short breaks set up to provide activities for disabled children only.  You can find details of the eligibility criteria here.
  3. Specialist services - These are services for disabled children with the most complex needs.

Click here for details of new short break activities that are available

Short Breaks Information Session - May 2024

If you missed the Short Breaks webinar on Wednesday 8th May, you can view the recording by clicking: Short Breaks Webinar - YouTube

Download the slides here: Short Breaks Information Session - May 2024 (pdf, 1.2mb)

Download the FAQs from the webinar on 8th May here - Short Breaks FAQs - May 2024 (pdf, 411kb)

This session covers:

  • What we mean by universal, targeted and specialist short breaks and where you can find information about what's available
  • The new targeted short breaks service in Southwark
  • Criteria for accessing a short break
  • How to use the booking platform (EEQU) to register for targeted short breaks
  • Feedback on experiences over Easter (to help us improve for summer)
  • When an assessment with the All Age Disability Service may be required

 You, your family or a professional can make a referral to Adult Social Care. Under the Care Act 2014 the Local Authority have a responsibility to assess Southwark Adult Residents where it appears that you may have needs for care or support.

Moving to Adult Services

Young people who have been accessing support from Southwark's Children's Services may at some point need to transfer to Adult Services. This usually happens around the time of their 18th or 25th birthday.

Under no circumstances should young people find themselves suddenly without support or care as they make the transition to adult services. Transition to adult social care for those with EHC plans who satisfy the Care Act eligibility criteria should begin at an appropriate annual review, in many cases this will take place over several months or years.

Under the Care Act 2014 local authorities must continue to provide a young person with children’s services after they have reached 18 years old, until they have decided whether it is appropriate to transfer the young person to adult services. This is to ensure that there is no gap in the care and support that the young person is receiving. In deciding whether it is appropriate to transfer the young person to adult services, following the transition assessment, the local authority will decide that the young person:

  • Does not have needs for adult care and support, or
  • Does have such needs and begins to meet some or all of them, or
  • Does have such needs but decides it is not going to meet them (either because the needs are not eligible or because the needs are already being met).

The All Age Disability Team are also here to help young people aged 14 to 25 years old with disabilities to increase their independence and help them plan for the future.

Young people with Special Educational Needs turning 18 may become eligible for adult care services regardless of whether they have an EHC plan or already receive care from Children Social Care. The local authority must carry out an adult care transition assessment where:

  • There is significant benefit to a young person or their carer in doing so
  • The young person is likely to have needs for care or support after turning 18


Contact details for Adult Social Care services in Southwark: 

You can also find further details in the Adult Social Care section of the Council's website.