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An update from the SEND Service on arrangements in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) in Hammersmith & Fulham

The SEND service – like the rest of Hammersmith & Fulham Council and our partners – is adapting the way we work to ensure that we can continue to support you. Our aim is to continue to operate services effectively and to a high standard during the coronavirus outbreak, while at the same time ensuring that we keep you and our staff safe.

We’ve created this resource to help give you more information and reassurance during this uncertain time.  

The service is still operating at Hammersmith & Fulham Council but Government guidance means that most of our staff is working at home, which is having an impact on our ability to deliver frontline services as quickly as we would like to. 

As a result, we’ve created this guide to use before contacting the duty line or other services about individual situations.

  • You can view our Frequently Asked Questions here.
  • If you are either a student or thinking about going to univeristy, please see our support for disabled students page here.
  • You can view our advice for parents, carers and disabled young people age 18+ who receive direct payments here.

Links to helpful advice and guidance

Health

If your child is unwell you are advised to contact your GP.

In respect of children and young people with SEND and their health needs, we continue to work closely with NHS colleagues who support children and young people with SEND.  

At this time the NHS is working to respond to COVID-19, which means that services will be re-directed to support. This is likely to mean a change to most SEND services. Children with urgent medical priorities will continue to be treated by the relevant clinical teams. Parents and carers should look at the NHS provider organisation websites for information.

Health Contacts

Arrangements in health services are continuing to change as the service responds to the crisis. As the situation changes, we will update these pages to tell you about any changes, contacts and alternative plans being made for children and young people with health needs.

Central London Community Healthcare Trust (CLCH) & Imperial Woodfield Child Development Service: If you have any queries or want advice in relation to your child's condition CLCH has set up a new telephone hub for children's complex care and speech and language therapy. You can contact the Children's Complex Care and Speech and Language Therapy Administration Hub on 020 7266 8777. This phone line will be open 8am - 8pm, 7 days a week during the current situation. You should call this number if you want to get in touch with any of the following services:

  • CLCH Children's Community Nursing
  • CLCH Paediatric Nutrition and Diatetics
  • CLCH Occupational Therapy
  • CLCH Speech and Language Therapy
  • Imperial Woodfield Child Development Service

Some of these services, such as Children’s Community Nursing are continuing to see children when a face to face contact is essential. However, if you have not been contacted by the service directly we recommend that you call the number above to discuss this. 

At this time these services are still accepting new referrals, however you are likely to have to wait until normal service resumes before you get seen by the service. If you have any questions about this please contact the number above for further information.

Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Cheyne Child Development Service: if there are any urgent questions regarding a patient that is already known to the Cheyne Child Development Service a message can be left on one of the numbers below:

  • Cheyne Child Development Service: 020 3315 6577
  • ChelWest Music Therapy: 020 3315 6472
  • Cheyne CDS Specialist Nurse: 020 3315 6470
  • Cheyne CDS Clinical Psychology: 020 3315 3196
  • ChelWest Children’s Physiotherapy: 020 3315 8667
  • CLCH Children’s Community Nursing Team: 020 7266 8777
  • New referrals to the Cheyne Child Development Service should be emailed to: CCDSintake@chelwest.nhs.uk

CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services): West London CAMHS are continuing to support children and young people known to their services as best as possible. West London CAMHS are also continuing to accept new referrals. If you want to contact West London CAMHS you can call 020 8483 1979. Visit their website here.

If there are any vulnerable families who need to register for any additional support this can be done by visiting this page.

CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health services)

The West London Trust is the provider of Child and Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHS) and advise that they expect their focus will be towards assisting the children, young people and families in such a way that they do not require attendance at A&E or even need an admission to a mental health service. By keeping everyone away from A&E we are reducing demand on their capacity and keeping our staff and service-users safe. We are developing plans for an alternative base to A&E where mental health patients, including children can be seen in the event they do need to attend.

West London Trust: https://www.westlondon.nhs.uk/

Mental Health and Emotional Well-being

Are you a young person aged 11 to 26? Do you need emotional health and well-being support? If so, Kooth is a free, safe and secure means of accessing support through an online counselling platform. Visit the website here to register and contact them for free.

There are also resources for parents and carers on the SEND Local Offer about looking after yourself and your children during the coronavirus crisis - please click here.

Schools

Government advice means that many children and young people with an EHC Plan can safely remain at home. However, we accept that some children and young people's needs may not be safely met at home. We will work closely with parents, schools, colleges, health, and social care partners to make available adequate local provision.

We all want children and young people to be safe. Government guidance suggests that in most cases the safest place is at home.   

The situation is very different in each school and individual schools have made arrangements for their pupils with parents and carers, including arrangements for more vulnerable pupils and those who have EHCPs. These situations are shifting and being assessed on a daily basis, so arrangements may change. Parents and carers should check their school website for updates.

The SEND service is working closely with schools and education services to assess the impact of current school closures on families, as well as provision for children who are still going to school.  

Our SEND service will support schools and colleges to undertake individual risk assessments, in discussion with parents to determine appropriate provision 

Please see the relevant Government guidance for parents and carers:

Education Health and Care Planning

Where you have an education, health and care needs assessment in process or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC), our planning service aims to work with you on decisions about your child. 

To contact the EHC planning service:

Decision-making processes for EHCNAs and EHCPs will be the same as usual using electronic communication. This includes the SEND Panel.

Care and Short Breaks

Based on Government guidance to prevent the spread of coronavirus, we may have to reduce or cancel scheduled short breaks activities. Changes will be discussed with families on an individual basis 

The Stephen Wiltshire Centre duty line will be open for calls and emails between 10am and 4pm to offer advice and information for families of disabled children. 

New referrals will not be taken at this stage. But if the situation is urgent, referrals can be made through ICAT. The Initial Consultation and Advice team and the Contact and Assessment Teams will continue to manage new referrals from partner agencies, parents and members of the public who are concerned about a child’s safety or welfare.

However, we are limiting face-to-face appointments and require all referrals to be made by phone or email. Email the ICAT team:

Our staff will be contacting individual families where there are more complex needs and will review plans on a regular basis as things change.  

Further guidance on short-breaks is being put together and will be available shortly and a letter has gone out to families.  

Most children with disabilities in H&F are allocated either a Social Worker, a keyworker or a Short Breaks Worker - families are encouraged to contact their allocated worker using known contact details or contact The Stephen Wiltshire Centre duty line to discuss their individual circumstances:

The duty line is open daily between 10am and 4pm to offer advice and information for families of disabled children. 

If families do not have an allocated worker and are worried, they can call the SWC duty line.

Families with disabled children and young people as well as disabled young adults who use Direct Payments/Personal Budgets

The Council remains fully committed to providing care support during this time. So far, essential services are running as usual and we have a daily status update call with all our support suppliers. There are no plans to reduce care support. However, non-essential work such as cleaning etc. may be disrupted should care supply become an issue. We have also made other contingency plans. Click here to see our coronavirus advice for parents, carers and disabled young people age 18+ who receive direct payments.

Parents & carers forum, information, advice and support

Parentsactive is the parent-carer forum for Hammersmith & Fulham residents and provides a support network for parents to gain and share information, make new friends and most importantly realise that they are not alone.

Parentsactive will continue their service though social media, emails and WhatsApp broadcast lists. For more details, email Parentsactive at: 

SENDIASS is a statutory SEND support service and is provided by Insights ESC offering impartial information, advice and support for parents and carers, children, young people with special educational needs/disabilities resident in Hammersmith & Fulham. For more details, visit this page.

The service is currently operating remotely.

Call Pat McNair on:

Call Sombo Dakowah on:

KIDS London provides independent mediation and useful information and advice for children, young people and parents/ carers.

Resources for families

Young People

Our Youth Council has produced youth-focused material on COVID-19. Read more here. You can find tips from H&F Youth Council for young people when getting through coronavirus and self-isolation here.

Upcoming activities

Hammersmith & Fulham has been working closely with our community organisations to utilise the fantastic range of skills and experience in our voluntary sector. We have seen a great response from some of our youth services who are supporting us in different ways during this time. Here are a few examples:

  • Let Me Play would normally be providing a range of holiday club programmes to our young people during the Easter period. They are working closely with Education colleagues and our schools to support the delivery of a great offer over Easter for our vulnerable children and children of key workers starting next week at a selected number of schools.
  • Action on Disability are running an alternative Easter offer for a selected number of children and young people starting next week. They are also working closely with our SEND team to support staffing at  The Stephen Wiltshire Centre and the Haven. AOD also ran their first virtual youth club this week via zoom.
  • London Sports Trust are supporting staff efforts and a number of schools including The Bridge and Phoenix. Their sports coaches and youth workers are ensuring schools have sufficient staff to stay open for our vulnerable children and children of Key Workers.
  • Active Successful Engagement (ASÉ) are a specialist service providing holistic mentoring service for young vulnerable people. They are currently working with our Looked after Children and Care Leavers teams to support our young people and carers who are struggling during this stressful time.
  • Harrow Club is one of our grass roots youth clubs and is trialling a virtual youth club this week, planning to go live next week.

For more information on Easter Holiday Clubs, click here. Keep this page bookmarked for further updates.

Other useful contacts

If you need assistance with obtaining food or essential supplies for your family, please visit the Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank website for more details: https://hammersmithfulham.foodbank.org.uk

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