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Certification and registration of children and young people

A 2015 study investigating the certification and registration (C&R) process for children and young people (CYP) with vision impairment in England.

Title: Ensuring Support: Certification and Registration in children and young people with Vision Impairment in England

Author: Dr Tammy Boyce; Publisher: RNIB


The Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) formally certifies a person as either sight impaired/partially sighted (SI) or severely sight impaired/blind (SSI).  This was a qualitative study to investigate the certification and registration (C&R) process for children and young people (CYP) aged from 0–17. While we expected to find similarities between the child and adult process, we also anticipated some differences as the role of professionals may be different. For example, while some ophthalmologists who work with children also specialise in paediatrics, others may work mainly with adults. Pathways to support may differ too, as in addition to health and social care professionals, qualified teachers of children with vision impairment (QTVI) from the local authority education vision impairment (VI) advisory service provide support to blind and partially sighted children and their families.

Telephone interviews were carried out with professionals involved in the C&R process, and with parents of children who were registered as SSI or SI. The health professionals came from hospitals in five areas in England. Eight local authorities (LAs) that were linked geographically to one or more of the five sites also took part.  The local authority professionals interviewed were QTVIs working in VI services, and social services professionals working with children registered as SI or SSI. We also interviewed 26 parents from across the whole of England and not just the participating hospital and LA areas.

Key findings

  • Not all CYP who are eligible are being certified and registered.
  • The C&R process for CYP is highly inconsistent across England.
  • There is inconsistent practice for babies and children with vision impairment and additional complex needs.
  • Referral for specialist support was often delayed.
  • Eye Care Liaison Officers (ECLOs) and other intermediary roles are under-used.
  • Variable support from social care services.
  • The most valued professional was the QTVI.
  • Parents of children who are registered all said that registration was important to them.
  • Not all CYP who are eligible are being registered.
  • BMJ Open have published an article on the certification and registration of children, based on Tammy Boyce's research for RNIB. You can read the article at the BMJ Open website.