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What are Short Breaks?

Short Breaks provide social opportunities for children and young people with a severe disability to spend time away from their parents or primary carers. They provide an essential opportunity for parents and carers to have a break, and allow disabled children and young people to have different experiences - places, people and activities.

It is our aim that Short Breaks will contribute to keeping disabled children safe and healthy, enabling them to enjoy new activities, make friends, and have new learning opportunities, as well as preparing teenagers for adulthood.

By providing disabled children and young people with such opportunities, it is our aim to support parents in their role as primary carers and give them breaks to assist them to look after themselves and their wider family.

Who is eligible?

The children and young people who can access the short breaks service will have long term disabilities and needs which are significantly and consistently greater than children and young people of the same age.

In Bury we see disabled children as being those children and young people aged 0 to 18 years whose daily lives are substantially affected by one or more of the following diagnosed conditions:

  • hearing impairment
  • visual impairment
  • learning disability
  • physical disability
  • chronic/life threatening physical injury
  • a communication disorder such as autism.

The child's condition should usually be expected to last for more than 12 months and have a substantial effect upon the child.

How do I make a referral?

Parents and professionals will need to make a referral to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), who will discuss with you the nature of your difficulties. At this point they may provide you with further information and advice and signpost to you to other services. This may include requesting that your child's school works with you to complete an Early Help and Family Support Plan (EHFSP). They may also refer you to the Youth Service, who provide specialist youth sessions, which do not require assessment.

How do I access Short Breaks' services?

Following on from the referral discussion you will be advised if you are eligible for an assessment by the Children with Disability Social Work Team. Where this is the case the Social Worker will seek to complete this assessment within 45 days, unless it is clear that this is an emergency situation. The Social Worker will seek within the assessment to clarify your child`s development needs and the impact of their care on your family.

Access to a support is then through agreement of the Children with Disabilities Decision Resource Panel of the support required to meet the assessed needs of your child and family. This Panel meets every fortnight and considers all assessments and requests for short breaks, and then will confirm the decision to you in writing. Where support is required in an emergency support will be agreed outside of the panel by the Social Worker with their Managers.

Within the assessment process the Social Worker will explore the types of short breaks available ahead of making their recommendations to Panel.

The short breaks offered might include the following:

  • A Direct Payment to employ a Personal Assistant to take the child or young person out, or helping in the home (refer to the guide in the downloads area below).
  • The child or young person spending time at a specialist social opportunity group.
  • Overnight care in the child's own home and elsewhere.

There are a range of short breaks, which you may be able to access depending on the assessed needs of your child.

Short Breaks duty statement

The Short Breaks Regulations requires the Council to produce a short breaks services statement so that families know what services are available, the eligibility criteria for these services, and how the range of short breaks is designed to meet the local needs of families with disabled children.

The Short Breaks duty statement is available in the downloads area below.