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Joint service for disabled children

The Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC) is an important partnership which works with the Our Voice parent forum and other voluntary organisations to support and promote opportunities for disabled children and their families. It includes Enfield community services, the early intervention support service and Cheviots children’s disability service.

For information about support for families and children or young people with special educational needs or a disability, view our easy read (PDF).

If you have a comment, compliment and complaint about a service for children or young people, see our children's social care complaints page.

Cheviots has social workers and centre workers who play a part in assessing children and providing support and services to families. We ensure that families with disabled children under 17 have the support they need to live ordinary family lives by:

  • listening to disabled children, acting on their views, and providing them with choices
  • ensuring disabled children and their families are supported to take part in and enjoy local community life, using local childcare, leisure and recreational facilities
  • making sure parents and carers are supported to become equal partners in making decisions about service developments and priorities
  • providing access to services, short breaks and family activities during the school holidays

Some families need more support and short break services than others due to the impact of their child’s complex disability and family situation. Families who need more support will be assessed further. You can request an assessment or review at any time by emailing cheviots@enfield.gov.uk.

Children and young people who receive short breaks directly from Cheviots will not receive a short breaks grant.

View our latest Ofsted inspection and Care Quality Commission inspection below.

You can find out more about our early intervention support service on our early education and childcare page.

Eligibility criteria

The Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC) supports children and young people if they are aged between 0 to 17 years (inclusive), live in Enfield and have a disability.

If there are safeguarding concerns about a child or young person, referrals can be made via the Children’s Portal and will be triaged by the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). If the referral shows that a child or young person meets the definition above, it will be sent to the Cheviots Social Work Team for assessment.

Referrals for Short Breaks are made through the Children’s Portal and are reviewed at the JSDC resources panel.

A Short breaks assessment may be completed to consider what additional support the child or young person could access.

Alternatively, a child and family assessment may be completed to consider the needs of the child or young person as well as parents and carers. This may be completed where:

  • there is more than one disabled child in the family 
  • the child or young person demonstrates behaviours that may put their ability to remain at home at risk
  • a parent has ill health 
  • there are exceptional and complex circumstances in the family 
  • there are concerns about the child’s safety at home


In order for you or your child to access some of our services, an assessment may be necessary. This is a way of gathering information to make a decision and understand the kind of help that is required. Assessments will differ depending on the service and type of need.

For more information, see our understanding assessment (PDF).

Makaton is a communication system that uses speech, signs and symbols. The Joint Service for Disabled Children has regular Makaton taster sessions, which usually run for approximately two hours. These sessions provide an introduction to Makaton, and allow you to learn 30 signs and symbols. This will give you a start to communicating with your child. 

For more information, or to find out when the next course is being run, email cheviotsshortbreaks@enfield.gov.uk.

Many young people suffer from sleep problems for a variety of reasons, such as worries and anxiety, bad sleep cycles and poor sleep habits or patterns.

Cheviots run a half hour, one-to-one session, to manage beliefs and thoughts about sleep. The aim is to help parents and carers improve their child’s sleeping patterns and the anxiety that can surround sleeping difficulties.

Parent and carers will learn about the causes of sleep problems and strategies they can implement. The session will concentrate on introducing new behaviours to stop difficulties getting off to sleep and waking in the middle of the night, as well as strategies and follow-up correspondence from the lead trainers.  

The workshops offer parents and carers a chance to learn about:

  • what sleep is
  • different ways a sleep problem can be made worse
  • methods to improve sleep and feel more rested
  • improving children’s sleep routines, to develop a healthier and more natural sleep pattern

It is also a great opportunity to speak to professionals and other families going through the same situation.

To find out when the next workshop is being held, email cheviotsshortbreaks@enfield.gov.uk

Safety in the home is important for all parents and carers. This is particularly a concern with children who have challenging behaviours due to their disabilities.

Helpful information and advice:

About specialist short breaks

Short breaks provide disabled children and young people with an opportunity to spend time away from their parents, relax with friends and have fun. They also provide families with a break from their caring responsibilities.

Not all children and families will need the same level of short breaks, and some will need more than others because of the impact of their child’s disability or their individual family circumstances. For more information, see our short breaks statement (PDF).

Find out about accessible venues and disabled access in Enfield.

Young people in Enfield have made a film about being supported with a Short Break Grant, showing them at a youth club and enjoying a night out.

Access and eligibility

Children and young people are eligible for short breaks if they meet the eligibility criteria for the Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC).

Children and families are referred into the service using the JSDC referral form. This is completed with you by a professional who knows your child and family, such as a health visitor or teacher. This helps identify your child's additional needs and determines if your child is eligible. We aim to let you know the outcome within four weeks.

All short break grants will be reviewed once a year to ensure the level of support is right for your child and family. You can request a review and further assessment of your needs at any time by emailing cheviots@enfield.gov.uk.

Early years (0 to 4 years)

Children’s centres offer activities and services for families with children under five.

If eligible, specialist support includes:

  • Early support keyworkers - help to improve the delivery of services by co-ordinating support from a range of services such as health visitors, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and children's centres
  • Pre-school support service - work with parents and carers in the home to provide teaching activities to support your child's development
  • Specialist short breaks offer:
    • access to family fun days during Easter and summer school holidays
    • fathers' groups
    • stay and play sessions
    • family activities
    • sleep workshops
    • parent workshops such as Makaton

5 to 7 years

If eligible, specialist support includes:

  • Specialist short breaks offer - a £500 ActivityPlus grant towards the cost of your child's activities and services
  • Family support offers:
    • access to family fun days during Easter and summer school holidays
    • fathers' groups
    • family activities
    • sleep workshops
    • parent workshops such as Makaton

8 to 17 years

If eligible, specialist support includes:

  • Family support offers:
  • Choice of one of the following specialist short breaks per year:
    • a £500 ActivityPlus grant towards the cost of your child's activities and services
    • a £1000 specialist services grant towards the cost of services
    • the JSDC buying services for your child up to a maximum of £1,000

Personal budgets

The Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC) provides families with a personal budget through short break grants and direct payments.

Direct payments

If a social work assessment identifies the need for personal care, a parent may choose to employ a personal carer and will therefore receive a direct payment. Alternatively, the JSDC can provide or buy the personal care service.

A parent choosing the direct payment option becomes the employer and will be offered support to manage their employment responsibilities through U-Direct.

Managing the grant

If you're eligible to receive a short breaks grant, you will need to apply for an E-card (similar to a debit card) which will be pre-loaded with your grant funding. The account will be in your name but belongs to Enfield Council. You cannot withdraw cash as it can only be used to pay for activities or services. You must keep receipts for all payments made for two years as these may need to be shown.

You will be asked to sign an agreement which details your responsibilities.

Funding must be used to meet the needs of your child, otherwise payments will be suspended.

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