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Short Breaks

Short Breaks

Short Breaks for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), come in many different forms:

  • they can provide opportunities for disabled children to enjoy themselves and fulfil their potential through safe experiences with or without their parent carers
  • they give parent carers a break from caring, enabling them to have time to undertake whatever they would like to do, such as leisure activities, day-to-day tasks, spending time with other family members, education or training opportunities
  • they enhance the ability of parent carers to care more effectively

Short Breaks can last anything from a couple of hours to an evening, overnight or weekend according to assessed need and can be offered during daytimes, evenings, weekends and school holidays. Short Breaks can take place within or outside the home, in the community or in a residential setting.

All Short Breaks take place outside of the school day. This means that activities could happen in the evening, at a weekend or during school holidays.

Many Short Breaks take place outside of the family home; for example, in local leisure centres or community spaces. However, some Short Breaks may be within the family home with specialist support, such as personal assistant, depending on the need of the child or young person and their family.

Short Breaks can also include overnight stays, depending on the need of the child or young person, their family and the type of activity. This may be at the home of an approved Short Breaks Foster Carer or a Specialist Residential Home. These short breaks require a single assessment made through MASH.

Short Breaks in York are available to children and young people who:

  • have a special educational need or disability
  • are aged 0 to 18 years old
  • ordinarily reside in York

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Eligibility decisions are based on individual need including to what extent a child or young person's disability or impairment affects their lives and the lives of those who live with and care for them.

Short Breaks are organised into three tiers of service to meet different levels of need:

Universal – children and young people are able to access a range of activities and settings that provide the support needed with either no or minimal additional support and generally does not require an assessment. However, where additional support is needed to enable a young person to access a universal service assessment is likely to be needed.

Targeted – children and young people can access activities in a range of settings which have been specifically adjusted or targeted at children and young people with disabilities. This will usually require an assessment.

Specialist – children and young people with acute or complex needs requiring specialist support to access activities and settings. This will always require an assessment.

Ven diagram showing the three different types of support, there's universal, targeted  and specialist

If you feel that your child is unable to access universal services and they are requiring more targeted support, then please complete a referral form and detail what level of support is required.

The Short Break Co-ordinator will then review your application and make contact to discuss this further with you.

The referrals are open twice a year. There will be monies made available with a budget and once that money has been allocated you will need to wait until the next round of referrals.

The referral is for low level support and families need to have an idea on the kind of support they will use their grant for. Money will not be made available without a clear understanding on the difference the funding or support will make to the life of the child.

Diagram of the Short Breaks process

You have established the disability of the child and the needs of the family to agree if criteria for short breaks is met

Can the child access universal activities
Refer to the universal activities on offer
Complete referral form
Referral assessed to see level of support requested
Signposted to appropriate support
If appropriate support requires short break grant this is discussed.
Is there is a need for more targeted support above what is out of the remit of the short break coordinator.
A decision for any short break grant to go to RAP panel for approval
A decision on direct payments to go to RAP panel for approval
All decisions are for the year. Parents apply each year for support
Direct payments are reviewed each year to see if they still meet the required need.

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If you’re looking for support through a personal assistant, we’ll ask you to identify a worker or someone you know before we agree to any funding. We do not recruit to this role.

As the Short Breaks are universal and are targeted at the early help stage the number of hours we can fund is 2 per week. This will be paid into a managed bank account. These hours can be used flexibly and banked to use as a block.

Any hours not used due to a worker leaving and no replacement been found we will claim back any surplus monies. If the worker is away on holiday or not available, then the funds accrued in the managed bank account can be used to support with activities if receipts are provided.

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Parents are responsible for transporting their children to Short Breaks. Families who receive mobility allowance through Disability Living Allowance can use this to support their child’s transport needs. However, where transport issues would be a significant barrier to accessing a Short Break, these will be assessed and decided as part of the eligibility criteria.

Apply for transport to a Short Break online.

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Funding for a targeted or specialist Short Break is based on the assessment of need for the individual family. There is no set “formula” used as we want to understand the needs of each family.

We’re provide early help Short Breaks and so the support we offer is low level funding to support with activities that the family cannot access through the Local Offer. So, if the child or young person requires support from a 1 to 1 swimming instructor we would support with the difference that these costs compared to a group session. We tend to offer this for the year.

Each child or young person is assessed on their individual need so we cannot say how much funding a child or young person is likely to receive. Any activity that the family wants to access that they can evidence will make a difference will be considered. The funding is then paid as a one-off for the year and you can then apply when the referrals are next open.

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Applications for Early Help Short Breaks.

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You can get in touch by:

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