Skip to main content

Trafford threshold criteria for social care support

SEND Local Offer

If you think your child needs a bit more help, accessing social care support is based on an assessment of the needs of your child, as well as your wider family circumstances.

There are four levels of need within "Trafford's threshold criteria". At each level:

  • There are different types of assessments that can be carried out by professionals working alongside you and your family to help assess need.  
  • There are different services and/or activities available to help you and your family, depending on the needs identified.

This is not a fixed measure. You and your families needs will change, and children can move across the levels depending on their needs at that particular time in their lives.

Please note: if there is any concern that a child may be at risk of harm, or has been harmed, an immediate referral to the MARAT team should be made.

You can read more in Trafford threshold guidance (for Professionals)


1: Universal and prevention

Most children at this level will be healthy, safe, access appropriate education or play activities, be engaged citizens of the community and have aspirations for their future. 

Children, young people and families will have their needs met with the support of "universal services" which are accessed without any assessment required.

Universal services are sometimes called 'mainstream' services, and include such things as your local school or your GP.

Activities include general sessions and events that are not specifically designed to meet additional needs. E.g. your local stay and play, or general swim sessions.  

Universal activities at level 1 may be suitable for a child with more needs, if they have access to additional support at level 2+ 

You can find out about a wide variety of Universal / Mainstream activites, events and services here on our directory. These can be found at: 

Tier 2 Targeted and coordinated

Some children or young people need more support from services such as speech therapy, physiotherapy or housing. At this level services or activities will be targeted to those particular needs.

Some targeted services or activities can only be accessed after an assessment has been carried out, whilst others do not need. You should be able to find out what is needed under the 'Referral' or 'Eligibility' sections of each listing here on the Local Offer.

If an assessment is carried out at this level, it will be a Single Agency Referral Form (SARF) or Early Help Assessment. This helps coordinate a multi-agency response to the needs that are currently not being met.

Tier 3 Targeted and specialist for medium-high complex needs

Medium-complex: If your child has more complex needs, or if other targeted services or activities are not helping, then a further part of the Early Help Assessment will be completed and a multi-agency plan of support developed.

High-complex: If the needs continue to escalate or interventions are not working, this is the point where social care support might become appropriate. Referral to social services is through MARAT. At this level other 'specialist' assessments may be carried out.

The services and activities at this level are called Specialist and are there to support children and families with more complex needs. 

Tier 4 Specialist for acute and complex needs

Children and young people at this level will have the highest level of complex and additional needs. This also includes children who are in the care system or are going through adoption procedures, children subject to child protection plans and those who are in the criminal justice system.

At this level social care will become the main agency for support. The activities and services that are for a child at this level are also called specialist but can only be accessed as part of social care support, and only after a Statutory or Specialist assessment has been carried out.

Back to top