The provision of short breaks for disabled children and their families was “transformed” while government funding was ring fenced, says the Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) campaign.
A new report, Raised Expectations: parental experiences of short breaks, finds that, when ring fenced funding was available, parents reported an increase in “regular, reliable and appropriate short breaks”. The report also claims that there is clear evidence that the positive impact of short breaks has been recognised by both the Government and some local areas.
However, while central funding for short breaks has increased in 2011/12, this money is no longer ring fenced and EDCM campaigners are urging the Government to monitor spending levels and the quality of short break provision to ensure continued success.
Although overall levels of service have improved, the report raises concerns that some children – particularly those with complex health needs – are still struggling to access sufficient short breaks, in some cases because their needs are seen as being too difficult to cater for.
Local authorities were required to publish a “short break service statement” by 1 October 2011, setting out what short break services are available in the local area, details of local eligibility criteria and information on how the range of services is designed to meet the needs of carers in their area.
To download the EDCM’s report, go to: