Children and young people

We are committed to making sure that children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both have the right to the same opportunities as anyone else.

These include:

  • getting the support they need to live long and healthy lives
  • being treated with the same dignity and respect
  • having a home within their community
  • being able to develop and maintain relationships and
  • getting the support they need to live a healthy, safe and fulfilling life. 

To do this we know that we need to make services in the community better.  This will mean that children and young people will be able to get their health care at home or near to where they live.

We work closely with parent carers and regional and national groups and organisations to make sure that together we are doing everything we can to transform care for children and young people.

Our work for children and young people

  • We have set up some groups with our national partners to make sure that we are doing all we can to support children and young people. These groups are called the Executive Steering Group and the Children and Young Peoples Operational Delivery Group.  Some of the work we do comes from the recommendations of the Lenehan Review.
  • We have recently done a piece of work where we look at each of the transforming care partnerships (TCPs) and see what work they are doing for children and young people. This has meant that we can help share where things are working well and support those TCPs who are struggling.
  • We have set up a group which is looking at stopping over medication of people with a learning disability and how medicines which are for mental health conditions affect children and young people – this is part of a project which we call STOMP.
  • We have revised our care and treatment review policy to make sure a child or young person needs to go into hospital it should only be after a care, education and treatment review has shown it is needed. The revised policy includes information about Care, Education and Treatment Reviews (CETRs) and has links to relevant child and family legal frameworks for care and support.   
  • As part of the revised policy commissioners (the people who plan and pay for care) are asked to keep a list of anyone who is at risk of being admitted to hospital. This means that they can work with family carers and other health and social care staff so that the child or young person can stay at home if possible.  As well as this, commissioners are asked to do work to understand all of the people with learning disabilities, autism or both that live in the area, and understand their needs to help them make sure they have the right services in place.  This is called a dynamic stratification process.

Special educational needs and disability

A child or young person has special educational needs and disabilities if they have a learning difficulty and/or a disability that means they need special health and education support, we shorten this to SEND.

Admission avoidance for children and young people with a learning disability and/or who are autistic caused by the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has caused disruption to support and services across health, education and social care. Parents and carers are telling us that children and young people with a learning disability and/or who are autistic, and their families, are experiencing additional pressures and difficulties as a result.

We are responding to this by asking health, social care and education systems to implement interim changes from January 2021 which will be reviewed in March 2021.

New offer for integrated care systems to support children who are neurodiverse in partnership with schools and parent carer forums

The Department for Education (DfE), Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England have an exciting opportunity for integrated care boards (ICBs) to work with in partnership with schools and parent carer forums on a new programme: Partnership for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools (PINS).

The DfE have secured funding for the programme which will be offered to ICBs, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ICBs and DfE facilitated through NHS England. This will enable a partnership approach working with local authorities and parent carer forums to develop innovative ways to support the education and health needs of neurodiverse children in schools and to help them to fulfil their potential.

Based on the learning from the successful model of the Autism in Schools programme this is designed to enable approaches for earlier support for neurodiverse children in school that will help prevent distress and challenge which may require further intensive intervention across health, education and care.

Case studies

Take a look at case studies on children and young people:

Watch this film from Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust where children and young people and their families talk about the positives of living with neurodiversity.


The share and learn webinars aim to support colleagues with their transforming care plans to improve the quality of care for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

Autism and CAMHS toolkit

This toolkit can give you information and examples of good practice and ideas all in one place so that autistic young people and their families, service providers and commissioners can get the services and support they need.

Find out more

Our national strategy ‘Building the Right Support‘ describes what good services and support looks like for people with a learning disability, autism or both.

More details about how the strategy applies to children and young people is available in our guidance for commissioners (the people who plan and pay for care).

If you have any questions or queries, please contact

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Tier 4 – family survival guide

Having a child or young person referred to a specialist assessment and treatment unit (ATU) can be a confusing and worrying time for families. Bringing Us Together have produced this guide to give families the information they need to navigate the system and advocate for their loved one.