Support services for disabled children
Children aged 17 and under with profound and severe disability who have a great need for care are offered childcare, support person and transport service as support services.
Support services can be applied for by a child’s parents, appointed guardian or caregiver at the Social Insurance Board.
The need for support services has to be assessed beforehand at a local government by a specialist of child protection or social work and it has to be included in the case plan (it may be based on the assessment of the need for services in the child’s rehabilitation plan).
Childcare service is provided for children with severe and profound disability who need care and supervision twenty-four hours a day. Childcare service means a service supporting the ability of a parent to work, study or cope during the provision of which the care, development and safety of a child is guaranteed by a provider of childcare service.
The service is provided at the home of a child or a provider of childcare service or at a social welfare institution.
Childcare services are granted to persons provided that:
- care for a child is not simultaneously provided with other social services (excluding care provided by the child’s family);
- a child does not study at an educational institution but is pre-schooled or home-schooled.
Childcare service is provided as a twenty-four hour service or a day service. It can also be provided for certain hours only.
Childcare may include feeding or washing the child or cleaning a catheter or changing diapers. Care procedures differ depending on the age and skills of the child. The level of developing the child – talking and reading to and playing with them – differs depending on the service provider and child carer.
Support person service
The purpose of the support person service is to assist and guide a disabled child in participating in the study and development processes in which the child is not able to participate independently as a result of their special needs. It is important to ensure that a child can grow up in a safe and supportive environment.
A support person will assist a child in activities that promote their development and guide and motivate them to cope in everyday life. If necessary, a support person will accompany a child when the presence of an adult is needed, assist and motivate to study and help to communicate with family members and outside the home.
A support person will teach a child to take care of themselves and, if necessary, assist in dressing, eating, personal hygiene, and cleaning the play or study area. If necessary, a support person will also assist as child in moving abound, participating in events, etc. In the case of older children, a support person may assist them by running errands, providing emotional support, intermediating experiences and information, teaching everyday tasks, etc.
A support person is a person who has previous experience of working with children and has acquired the knowledge and skills necessary for working as a support person.
Support person service is provided for a child in the daytime at home, social welfare institution or educational institution and for receiving health care or rehabilitation services to enable a parent to study, work or search for a job. The service is adjusted to meet the needs of each child individually and the tasks of a support person are included in the contract concluded with them.
Transport service is provided for a child to enable them to participate in care or support person services. The means of transport must ensure the safe transport of a child based on their special needs. If necessary, a child should also be able to use a special means of transport for disabled persons. A provider of transport service must assist the child into the means of transport and ensure their safety during the entire journey.
Transport service can be applied for only together with other support services, as the service is not provided independently for the purpose of enabling transport to an educational institution, rehabilitation institution, health institution, etc., but only for when a child requires transport to and from the location where childcare or support person services are provided.
How to apply for services
A parent needs to find a suitable service provider and contact them to agree on the conditions of the service, including period and price. To be granted the services, a parent needs to fill in an application. NB! All official forms are in Estonian.
The application may be submitted:
- by e-mail, if digitally signed, to a regional co-ordinator of the person’s residence;
- by regular mail to the office of a co-ordinator. Contact data for regional co-ordinators is available on the website of the Social Insurance Board;
- at the customer service office of the Social Insurance Board.
A regional co-ordinator will make a decision whether or not to provide services for a child within 10 working days and communicate it to the parent and the service provider.