Related Sector: Health & Social Care

Bond Solon trainer and subject matter expert Francesca Burfield, provides an overview of the National Framework for Children & Young People’s Continuing Care.

What is the National Framework for Children & Young People’s Continuing Care?

The National Framework for Children & Young People’s Continuing Care is intended to provide guidance for Integrated Care Boards (ICBs). Specifically, when assessing children and young people whose complex needs cannot be met by universal or specialist health services.

If a child or young person has complex health needs, ICBs have a legal responsibility to reasonably secure the health care needs of that child. This framework establishes the process which should be followed for the equitable discharge of that responsibility.

The Framework reflects the structures of NHS commissioning created by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It also considers the integrated approach to the commissioning of services for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (Part 3, Children and Families Act 2014).

ICBs and local authorities should coordinate a single assessment and agree a package of continuing care (section 26, Children & Families Act 2014):

  • where a child or young person has a special educational need or disability (SEND); or
  • where a child or young person has social care needs by virtue of Section 17,20 or 31 of the Children Act 1989.

This should be carried out as part of the process to develop the child’s Education, Health and Care plan.  

When is a continuing care package (CCP) likely to be required?

A CCP will be required when a child or young person has complex health needs. For example, as a result of congenital conditions, long-term or life limiting or life-threatening conditions, disability, or the after-effects of serious illness or injury. Complex health needs can also relate to learning difficulties, psychological or psychological illness alongside challenging behaviour. These needs must be so complex, that they cannot be met by the existing services routinely available from GP practices, hospitals, CAMHS or in the community commissioned by ICBs or NHS England. And therefore, a package of additional health support is needed, which is known as ‘continuing care’.

How do ICBs decide whether continuing care is necessary?

The National Framework guides ICBs in determining if a child’s needs are such that they require a package of continuing care. It provides advice based on existing practice across the country on undertaking a holistic assessment of the child or young person’s needs. ICBs have autonomy as to how they fulfil this function, and what process they adopt.

What happens after a child turns 18?

This National Framework only applies to young people up to their 18th birthday. Thereafter, the National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare will be considered. However, there are significant differences between children and young people’s continuing care and NHS Continuing Healthcare for adults. So, although a child or young person may be in receipt of a package of continuing care, they may not be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare or NHS funded Nursing Care once they turn 18.

We hope you found the above Q&A useful.

If you would like a more detailed picture of the framework, how to identify continuing care, we would recommend that you attend our one day Continuing Care for Children & Young People course. For more information about this course please visit the course page, or get in touch with one of the team on 020 7549 2549 or

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