Referral Criteria – Specialist Children’s Assessment Centres (SCAC)

Our Specialist Children’s Assessment Centres (SCAC) provide specialist assessment and intervention for children aged 0 – 5 years with significant developmental difficulties. The multi-disciplinary team works with families and community services to provide services which are tailored to individual children’s needs both in the centres and in the community.

About the Specialist Children’s Assessment Centres

The SCAC adopts a multidisciplinary approach to providing specialist developmental assessment, diagnosis and intervention. The centres work closely with community-based colleagues and partner agencies (such as education) to deliver a high standard of service. SCAC services are designed to meet commissioner specifications and hold the needs of children and young people, and families under our care at the centre of what we do.

SCAC practice is informed by NICE guidelines, good practice principles and service-user feedback. In keeping with national changes such as the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) legislation and local responses such as the Early Help Assessment, the centres prioritise close liaison with colleagues in community and education settings, clear outcome plans and the incorporation of ‘single record’ principles and family centred flexibility into its practice.

Conditions in scope

There must be evidence of significant delay in at least two or more areas to include, gross motor, fine motor, communication and language, personal, social and emotional, cognition and self-care.

For a child where Autism is a concern, there needs to be evidence of repetitive behaviour, social interaction and sensory processing difficulties which are significantly impacting on their ability to learn and participate in daily activities.

All referrals to this service should include evidence of interventions already implemented through  Early Help and community health services i.e. speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Where a child is attending a Early Years Setting a Graduated Response should be evidenced.

Exclusion criteria

Requests for service will not be accepted for:

  • Children over 5 years of age
  • Children who do not meet the above criteria.

Devon ICS do not provide this service for children/young people in south and west Devon – services here are provided by Plymouth and Torbay.

Pre-request requirements

In order to submit a request with the necessary supporting information please make sure you have completed or referenced the following items as appropriate:

  • Signed parental consent
  • Completed referral ICS form
  • Evidence of significant delay in two or more areas (as above). This can include documented observations.
  • Early Years Setting report including Devon Learning Journey/Graduated Response.
  • Copies of recent (within the last 6 months) reports from community Speech & Language Therapist (including pragmatic assessment), Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and other relevant therapists.
  • Evidence of interventions already put in place, tried and evaluated to show where future support is needed.
  • Evidence of Team Around the Family meetings (TAF) having been held and outcomes.

If the referrals arrive at Single Point of Access without the required documents/evidence we will be unable to action them until all relevant documentation is received. Provision of documentation at the point of referral is an integral part of the specialist assessment.

Location of Centres

We will arrange to see you at a location convenient to you or near to your home, which may or may not be listed below. You should not visit the locations below unless we have sent you an appointment and requested that you do. If you need help please contact us using the number on this page.


Children and Family Health Devon
Single Point of Access Team
1a Capital Court
Bittern Road
Sowton Industrial Estate
Exeter EX2 7FW

t: 0330 0245 321