Self Directed Support (children and families)

What is Self Directed Support?

Self Directed Support (SDS) is about giving you more choice and control over the support you get to enable you to live as independently as possible.

Some people can manage their support on their own, while others need help either from family or friends, or a support organisation.

Who can receive SDS?

Anyone who is assessed as eligible for social care support will get support through one of the SDS options.

SDS options

You will be offered 4 choices on how you can receive your social care:

  • Option 1: You take the money, and choose and organise your support. This is a cash payment called a Direct Payment. You can use the payment to: This option gives you the most choice and flexibility, but it does mean taking on more responsibility. (You can get help with this.)
  • Option 2: You choose the support, and either the council or a support provider arranges it. This means you don't have to manage the money, but you still actively organise your support.
  • Option 3: You ask the council to choose and arrange the support.
  • Option 4: Mix and match options 1, 2 and 3. SDS is about choices: you can arrange support from a support provider or you can employ your own staff.

SDS is meant to be used flexibly. You can use it creatively so long as it meets your needs.

How do I decide on the best option?

You will be given information and support to help you think about which is the right option for you and your child. It is a good idea to think about:

  • what you want to get out of your support
  • what the outcomes (the things that matter to you) will be
  • and how these could best be met.

You must first have an assessment where you will find out the support you may be eligible for. You will be told how much money (your 'budget') is available to help you to meet your assessed needs.

At this stage you will be told about the different options. It is important that you understand what each of the options involves, allowing you to make the choice that suits you and your child.

If something in your life changes, you can ask for your care and support to be looked at again, including maybe choosing a different SDS option.

Assessing your needs

All children must have an assessment before getting social work funded support.

If your child has not been assessed and you feel you are eligible for support, contact your:

  • health visitor
  • GP
  • or school.

Any of these can refer you.

More information