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Short breaks for disabled children

Short breaks for disabled children

What short breaks are, who they’re for and how to arrange one

What is a short break

A short break is for disabled children and young people and their families. They give disabled children and young people the chance to:  

  • spend time away from their parents and carers to build independence skills
  • relax and have fun with their friends
  • develop their independence

Short breaks give families the chance to:

  • have a break from their caring responsibilities
  • rest and unwind
  • spend time with other family members 

A short break can range from a few hours a week to overnight stays. They can take place in the day, evening or at weekends at:

 

  • the child’s home
  • the home of an approved short break carer
  • a residential or community setting 

Residential and overnight short breaks are registered with and inspected by Ofsted.

Short breaks can include:

  • families taking a break together, away from the routine of daily life
  • a break for your child away from the family
  • group activities like a youth club for children and young people 
  • holiday play schemes
  • sports, arts or music activities
  • one to one support so your child can take part in activities such as cinema trips

Types of short breaks available


Children, young people and their families have different levels of need, and a family’s needs may change over time.

We organise short breaks into three levels of need:

  • universal
  • targeted 
  • specialist

Universal services

Universal services are provided or are available to all children, young people and their families. They include:

  • play schemes
  • holiday activities
  • after school clubs
  • youth clubs
  • beavers and scouts
  • brownies and guides
  • libraries
  • playgrounds and parks 

Targeted services

These are aimed at disabled children and young people who need:

  • extra support 
  • groups or services that are specifically designed 

You can access them directly if you meet the criteria that the provider has. You may also be referred to a targeted service by a professional.

They include:

  • Saturday clubs
  • sports and leisure clubs
  • buddying and befriending

Specialist services

These are services for disabled children when a social care assessment shows they:

  • need more support to access a specialist range or activities
  • are at significant risk

How to get a short break

Not all children and families need the same type of short break. 

Our short breaks statement for 2017 describes how we decide which type of short break is most suitable for your family.

Universal services

Universal short break services are available to all children and young people, with and without additional needs. You can access them directly in your local community and don’t need an assessment.

Targeted services

Targeted short breaks services available are for disabled children and young people in Bristol who: 

  • are aged between 0 and 18 years old 
  • live in the Bristol City Council local authority area or are a child in care placed by Bristol City Council
  • have a disability, impairment or additional needs that require support for them to take part in social and play activities 

They are specific services for:

  • disabled children 
  • young people who have multiple needs because of emotional or physical difficulties, 
  • young people who may be affected by problems in their family 

Examples include:

This is a self-referral process. Contact the short breaks provider directly to find out about specific eligibility criteria. 

Bridging workers from the Disabled Children’s Service work with any setting that provides short breaks, parents and disabled young people to support play and leisure activities. Bridging workers can help if your child needs:

  • work done to the setting to make it more accessible
  • additional support
  • advice

Specialist services

Specialist services are for families with disabled children and young people who need more support than is available through universal and targeted services.

Specialist services include:

  • personal assistants to support your child into community activities
  • family based overnight and day care
  • residential overnight short breaks
  • holiday clubs 
  • SEN Support at your child’s education setting
  • services from the Bristol Autism team
  • a personal budget and direct payments
  • health services
  • short break fostering

To get a specialist short break your family has a social care assessment of need completed by the Disabled Children’s Service or a social worker from the locality teams. 

The assessment decides what services your family needs and at what level. Once the Child’s Resource Panel for Specialist Services has discussed your child’s assessment Disabled Children’s Services will tell you the type of short break or support that has been agreed.
 
If you need an assessment for your child you can refer directly to First Response by calling 0117 903825 and it’ll be processed through the Disabled Children’s Service.

Organisations in Bristol that provide targeted short breaks

The organisations we work with all provide short breaks for carers and activities for disabled children and young people:

  • KHAAS, work with BME disabled children aged five to 19, providing Saturday respite clubs and days out during the holidays. 
  • Bristol Playbus, work with children and young people aged five to 15.  They can arrange home visits with their ‘sensory truck’ and their inclusive play team organise ‘Let’s All Play’ sessions across the city.
  • Time 2 Share, coordinate a ‘buddying scheme’ (5-18), a dinner club (8-12) as well as days out during the holidays for children and young people 
  • WECIL run regular youth clubs across the city and Saturday sessions for young people (13-18) as well as holiday activities for families
  • National Autistic Society run regular out of school clubs for young people with autism (8-13 and 13-18). 
  • Bristol Autism Project provides inclusive family activities for children with autism during school holidays. 
  • Action for Children offer regular short residential holidays for children and young people with a low level of need to those with the highest level 
  • Barnardo’s Schools-based Holiday Short Breaks, organise holiday schemes during Easter and Summer School Holidays at four special schools. 
  • Bristol Deaf Youth Club bring together families living with deafness at social activities.
  • Bristol Parent Carers run a short break transport scheme, offering free transport for children and young people travelling with their parents or carers. 

Short breaks service statement

The short breaks for disabled children service statement tells you:

  • what short breaks are available
  • who these services are for 
  • how we’ve designed a range of services to meet the needs of families 
  • how we evaluate services and use a range of policies to make sure they’re meeting our standards

We review the statement every year to make sure it’s up to date. 

Read Bristol’s short breaks statement for 2017.
Read the full short breaks commissioning plan.
 

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