Short breaks for disabled children and young people

Short breaks are available to families to provide a break from caring for a disabled child and for the child to have a break from their carers.

Short breaks are matched to meet the child's needs, interests and preferences and aim to provide:

  • extra social opportunities for the child;
  • a break for the parents and child; or
  • time for parents to spend with other children in the family.

See our  short breaks statement (pdf / 267 KB) to find out who can access a short break, what is available at different levels of need and how this can be accessed.

There are three different types of short breaks available:

Universal support

This is the support available to everyone through universal settings, such as children's centres, youth centres, libraries, leisure centres and social activities. The majority of children who require services will receive them through such resources. Information on local services is available from your local inclusion officer.

Additional support

Some disabled children and young people with less complex needs will require additional support to access some universal services. Additional support is often short-term assistance to help access mainstream services such as youth groups, scouts, guides and sports clubs. This might include advice or training for providers or short-term additional support to enhance confidence and skills, if necessary. 

For more information on additional support, please contact your local inclusion officer.

Specialist support

This is for children with more complex needs or challenging behaviour. We assess children and their families to ensure that their short breaks needs are fully understood and to tailor a service according to their need in an appropriate setting.

The types of short break available include:

  • day care;
  • overnight stays;
  • weekend stays (often once a month);
  • occasional longer stays;
  • befriending; and
  • leisure and social activities.

The short breaks will be designed around the child and family's specific needs and will be age appropriate. Short breaks provision will be reviewed periodically (but not more than once a year) to ensure that they remain suitable and are providing the support required. Short breaks for older children may include skills for adulthood, including social skills or promoting independence, where appropriate.

For more information, see the disabled children and young people section.

Frequently asked questions

If you feel your family would be eligible and you wish to apply for a short break please  complete the self-referral form (pdf / 786 KB). Children and young people are eligible up to their 18th birthday. 

All instructions on submitting this are within the form itself however please see below for further guidance to ensure you understand the process as clearly as possible. 

Applications panels

Two panels are scheduled for each year at which all applications are considered. The second panel will only run should there be sufficient funds to allocate further after panel one has sat. 

Due to the success of this scheme the second panel will not run. However, please contact us if you require further advice. 

Dates for the applications and panel process for 2020 will appear here shortly.

All application forms, including any supporting documents, must be received by the deadline time and date.  No late applications can be accepted. 

Please contact your local Early Help team below if you require assistance in submitting the application or supporting documentation. They cannot give any advice on the suitability of your application or advice on needs / assessment or documentation etc.  

District Contact Telephone
West Rachel Yeadon – Senior Early Help Consultant 01609 798560
West Paul Carswell– Group Manager 01609 533412
Central Jon Coates– Senior Early Help Consultant 01609 535926
Central Simon Osman– Group Manager 01609 538167
East Liz White– Senior Early Help Consultant 01609 537464
East Barbara Merrygold – Group Manager 01609 798331