Funding short breaks saves money

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The state could make substantial cost savings by sustained funding of short breaks for children with disabilities and their families, according to a report issued in February.

The Social and Economic Value of Short Breaks claims that, if all families who need them were supplied with short breaks, the state could make an annual saving of roughly £174 million. This would be achieved through savings made due to reductions in carer stress and by the “prevention of unnecessary long term residential placements due to avoidable family breakdown”.

Children’s Secretary Ed Balls has announced that all local authorities will be required to provide short breaks for parents and carers who look after a disabled child. However, with a general election imminent, the report’s instigators, Action for Children and the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign, have called on all political parties to guarantee financial support for short breaks, which are currently funded through Aiming High for Disabled Children.

Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of Action for Children said: “We have known for a long time that investment in short break services for disabled children makes good economic sense. The financial savings demonstrated by today’s report show that recession driven cuts to this area of funding would be a false
economy.”

The report can be downloaded at:
www.actionforchildren.org.uk/valueofshortbreaks

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