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Short Breaks

Most families spend time together but often children and parents like to have some time to themselves to do the things they want to do. Short breaks provide opportunities for disabled children and young people 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.

There are many types of short breaks and not all of them are right for every family.

Short breaks might include the following:

  • The child or young person attending one of the many youth clubs, play schemes or activity groups that are available for all children.
  • The family taking part in social events, activities or outings together.
  •  A support worker taking the child or young person out, or helping in the home - the worker may be employed directly by the family, or provided by the Council or by another agency.
  • The child or young person spending time at a specialist group or club or at a specialist short break centre.
  • Day care in the child's own home and elsewhere
  • Overnight care in the child's own home and elsewhere

Access to any Short Break Service is via an assessment undertaken by the 'Children with Disabilities Service' and then through agreement of the Children with Disabilities Short Break Panel. The Short Breaks Panel meets weekly and considers all assessments and requests for short break resources, then decides on the allocation of the services.

The aim of the panel is:

  • To ensure a consistency of approach to all families
  • To ensure support plans are in place and that short breaks service will form a part of this plan
  • To effectively manage the use and development of Short Break Services.

There is a range of short breaks, which you may be able to access depending on the assessed needs and aspirations of your child, in accordance with the Short Breaks Duty Statement.

These include:

  • Agency Support
  • Direct Payments
  • Play Schemes
  • Short Breaks Carers Scheme
  • Abbeyford


Short Break Services required in an emergency can be agreed outside of the panel by agreement with the Social Worker and the Service Manager.

If you wish to make a referral or have a general enquiry please contact the Contact Centre and speak to an advisor:

Contact Centre
Wesley House
Corporation Street
St Helens
WA10 1HF

Open 9.00am - 5.00pm
Monday - Friday

Contact Us via our website

Telephone: 01744 676600