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Improving short breaks services

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We offer resources, guidance and advice to parent carer forums working to improve short breaks services for families with disabled children.

What are short breaks services?

Short breaks are a range of services provided by local authorities to allow parent carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities.

Short breaks services may also allow disabled children to enjoy different experiences, develop new skills and help them to achieve their ambitions in life.

Short breaks services can be provided by councils (local authorities), health services or private, voluntary and community sector organisations.

Services can include day-time or overnight care in the home or elsewhere. They can include educational or leisure activities outside the home or services to assist parent carers in the evenings, at weekends and during the school holidays.

Short breaks resources

Our resources for improving short breaks come in various forms. They are designed primarily for parents and parent carer forums across England. For a quick digest and reference guide, try our two-page printable factsheets:

Short breaks toolkit

If you’d like something more comprehensive try our short breaks toolkit, which brings together all of our legal content, best practice and case studies in several areas of short breaks provision.

Short breaks services statement review tool

If your parent carer forum is already working with your local authority on short breaks services, you may find our statement review tool helpful.

It provides an overview of the legal framework local authorities must take into account when developing and providing services. It includes a ‘self-evaluation form’ for forums to use when working in co-production with their local authority to evaluate provision and the short breaks services statement.

About the Short Breaks Partnership

All of the resources above have been produced by the members of the Short Breaks Partnership. Together we know how important short breaks services are for families, and we appreciate the challenges statutory authorities face in providing an effective and sufficient range of short breaks services.

Each member of the partnership works with different groups to support and improve short breaks provision:

  • Contact provides resources and additional support to parent carer forums (listed above). These resources are produced with the support and guidance of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.
  • Action for Children is working with providers to consider areas of innovation in the provision of short breaks services – see the Action for Children website.
  • KIDS is working with young people to increase awareness of and access to short breaks – see the KIDS resources.
  • Council for Disabled Children is supporting local authorities and health services with commissioning resources – see the Council for Disabled Children resources.

Our resources are designed to support co-production between children, young people, parent carers, commissioners and providers to improve the provision of short breaks services. The partnership’s work builds on the legacy of the Short Breaks Network, which ran from 1990 to 2015.

Contact us

We are really keen to hear from you if you have any feedback or suggestions for either the joint bulletins or resources. You can get in touch by emailing parent.participation@contact.org.uk