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Child &
Disability Law

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We  act in cases involving the rights of children and we provide expert advice and legal representation on all areas of Child Law including;
    If your child has a disability or you believe they have a disability you can apply on their behalf to the Health Service Executive for an Assessment of Need (AON).
    The assessment will identify your child’s health needs and what services are required to meet your child's needs.
    Your child must be born after 1 June 2002 in order to be eligible to be assessed. An application can be made by a parent, legal guardian or a personal advocate of the child in question. A young person aged 16 or 17 years can apply for their own Assessment of Need. An Assessment of Need must be comprehensive, accurate and up to date (HIQA Standards). The High Court has recently interpreted the assessment process under
    Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005 as including a diagnostic requirement to be more consistent with the statutory scheme established pursuant to section 10 of the Act.

    The process is relatively straight forward. An Assessment of Need application form which is available online from the Health Service Executive (HSE) should be downloaded, completed and sent by post to the child’s local HSE Assessment Officer. The details of the Assessment Officers are available online from the HSE. Confirmation of receipt of the application should be obtained within two weeks. Upon receipt of a completed AON application form the AON process must be commenced within three months and completed within six months. Sometimes further information is requested of the applicant which is material to the AON process. More information about the process and the application form can be located at: https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/4/disability/
    The Assessment Officer will provide the Assessment Report. If the child is deemed to have a disability this is sent to a Liaison Officer who will prepare a Service Statement. A Service Statement should be received by the applicant within one month of the completed assessment. The Service Statement will list health services and supports that will be provided to the child. The service statement must comply with certain secondary legislation. KM solicitors can advise you whether the service statement is legally compliant.

    Specific complaints and appeals procedures are available if an applicant is not satisfied with the Assessment of Need report or Service Statement. This process is suitable for the following complaints:

    - the Assessment Officer decides that your child does not meet the definition of disability and you disagree;
    - your child's assessment was not started or completed within the time-frames specified. Your child's assessment must be started as soon as possible but no later than three months from the date of receipt of your completed application form. Once started, it must be completed within a  further three months from the date of commencement;
    - you believe that your child’s assessment was not carried out in line with the standards for assessment;
    - you believe that the content of your child's Service Statement is inaccurate or incorrect;
    - your child has not received a service that is detailed in his or her Service Statement.

    A complaint can be submitted within three months of the date on which the applicant became aware of the cause of the complaint.

    The HSE implemented a new procedure called SOP from 15 January 2020 for carrying out assessment of needs to complete Assessment of Need reports. Under the new procedure the assessment to be carried out on a child was referred to as a “Preliminary Team Assessment” instead of the full assessments which had been carried out under the Assessment of Need process provided for in Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005.  The standard operating procedure was successfully challenged in the High Court which ruled on 11 March 2022 that the procedure was contrary to part 2 of the Disability Act 2005. (Please see our News & Insights section for more information)Accordingly, the SOP is no longer been used by the HSE in respect of carrying out assessments of needs.

    Legal advice and assistance to applicants for domiciliary care allowance including any appeal of a refusal or court applications as required.

    We represent clients with special needs who require specific or additional housing requirements.

    KM Solicitors has extensive experience in representing clients in respect of issues and complaints concerning assessment of need reports, service statements and access to services.  
    Email: amurnaghan@kmsolicitors.ie
    Contact No: 01-2243576

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