Monday, 14 Oct 2019

Supporting Parents With Time Off: Short Breaks For Children With Special Needs

Social Care: What Is It?

‘Social care’ is a wide-reaching term that’s used to describe any sort of practical assistance, including personal care, rendered to children, teens, and adult who may need help. Social care is often (but not necessarily always) provided through your local health service. Local authorities and health groups need to collaborate to see that the health needs of disabled children are met. This guide is particularly focussed on the support which families are entitled to receiving from their local authority.

Local authorities, and particularly their social services departments, have a legal obligation to support disabled children, their families, and those who care for them.

In some circumstances, families can benefit from taking a break from the responsibilities of caring for disabled or otherwise challenged children. Now local authorities can provide also provide ‘short break’ services and live in care in Wokingham for families. They also have an obligation to make sure families understand how to access this sort of support.

Temporarily handing over your child’s care responsibilities to others is not a sign of weakness or an admission of defeat. It’s entirely reasonable to want a little time for yourself, your interests, and your other friends and loved ones. Short breaks also give children the opportunity to have new experiences, make new friends, and enjoy a change of scene.

Explaining Short Breaks Services

Short breaks are a number of different services offered to parents by local authorities so that they can enjoy a respite from the responsibilities of caring for a child with special needs.

These services also broaden the horizons of the children who take advantage of them, building new skills, presenting new experiences, and offering them new paths to achievement.

The organisations which provide short breaks services include local councils, health services, and a variety of private and community bodies.

Typical services include daytime or overnight care provided in the home or outside it. Short break services may include educational and recreational opportunities outside the home, evening-time assistance for parent carers, and additional support on weekends and during school holidays.

Short breaks services include:

  • Care at home: This includes care attendant schemes, which provide qualified personnel to ‘mind’ your child.
  • Daycare away from home: Nurseries, extra-curricular clubs, playgroups, weekend clubs, and playschemes covering school holidays.
  • Residential breaks: Organised through residential facilities, hospitals, and hospices
  • Overnight short breaks: Provides sitting or nursing services overnight as required.
  • Family Link Programmes: Arranging one-time or regular visits in which your child stays with another family.

Using Short Breaks Services

If you’re interested in short breaks assistance, speak to your local authority. In most cases, a needs assessment conducted by social services is a necessary first step. There are also ‘universal’ short breaks with lesser requirements; see below for more information.

An excellent way to get started is to contact your local Family Information Service. SENDirect can also be used to locate short breaks in your community.

Scottish families can find more information through Shared Care Scotland, a nation-wide third sector group coordinating short breaks activity throughout Scotland.