The PDS Programme

The vision for children’s disability services

  • Easy access to the services children need
  • Fairness in providing services
  • Families, health services and schools working together to support children in developing their potential

Roadmap for Service Improvement

The Roadmap for Service Improvement 2023 - 2026 Disability Services for Children and Young People is a targeted service improvement programme to achieve a quality, accessible, equitable and timely service for all children with complex needs as a result of a disability and their families. It sets out the overall aim for Children’s Disability Services, provided by the HSE and its partner agencies, that for every child to have a childhood of inclusive experiences where they can have fun, learn, develop interests and skills, and form positive relationships with others in a range of different settings.

Roadmap for Service Improvement 2023 - 2026 (PDF, size 236 KB, 40 pages)

This document and video were prepared to give a brief overview of the Roadmap for children and families. The video and document give a summary of some of the main points in the Roadmap. They explain what children’s disability network teams are, what the Roadmap is about and what the key actions are between 2023 and 2026. It is not designed to replace the full roadmap. Families can read the full Roadmap to get more detailed information.

Roadmap for Service Improvement - Brief Overview (PDF, size 413 KB, 7 pages)

Disability Services for Children and Young People 2023 - 2026 (

What is this programme about?Painted Hands

At present, there are some very good services for children with disabilities and their families but also some large gaps. There may be a service for children with an intellectual disability in a locality, but none for children with a physical disability. Some children and their families have little or no access to services.

We need a fairer way to provide services for children with disabilities:

  • Services should be based on a child’s needs rather than on their diagnosis
  • Children and families should have services available wherever they live

A national programme called ‘Progressing Disability Services for Children & Young People’ (often shortened to PDS) is changing the way services are provided across the country to make it equitable and consistent for all.

Access to services for children & young people

Many children with delays in their development can have their needs met by their local Primary Care services (public health nurse, community speech and language therapist, family doctor, community physiotherapist etc).

Children’s Disability Network Teams (CDNTs) will provide services for all children with more significant needs and who require a team of professionals working together. This will be regardless of the child’s disability, diagnosis or where he or she goes to school.

Parents and health professionals, instead of trying to find their way through a maze of services, will easily be able to find out where a child should be referred.

How is the programme being organised?

A National Working Group guides and oversees the programme.

Local Implementation Groups - representatives of services and parents are working out how services can be reorganised to achieve this improved structure and operation of services in their area. This includes:

  • A review of what services are currently available for children with disabilities
  • Planning how best to use resources to meet children’s needs
  • Forming a partnership between all the disability organisations in an area so that they can work together
  • Moving the current staff in disability services to form Children’s Disability Network Teams
  • Helping families with their move to a new team and service

What stage has the programme reached?

Because of the way services have developed over the decades, each part of the country is at a different stage of reconfiguration. 

When this programme is completed every child with complex needs in the country will have access to a service.

Find out more here.