Short Breaks for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities, come in many different forms. They can -

  • provide opportunities for disabled children to enjoy themselves and fulfil their potential through safe experiences with or without their parent or carer
  • give parent or carers a break from caring, enabling them to have time to undertake whatever they would like to do, such as leisure activities, day-to-day tasks, spending time with other family members or education/training opportunities
  • enhance the abilities of parents and carers to care more effectively

Short Breaks can last anything from a couple of hours to a weekend or longer and can be offered during daytimes, evenings, weekends and school holidays. Short Breaks can take place within or outside the home, in the community or in a residential setting.

For some short breaks an assessment of need may be necessary to ensure that the right level of support and short break activities or services are used.

You can download the Short Breaks Service Statement for more information.

Who can access short breaks

Short breaks are available for children and young people from birth to their 18th birthday who are disabled, or have complex health needs where their disability has a significant impact on them and family life. You can check the eligibility criteria.


There is no statutory entitlement to transport for short breaks however this can be assessed as part of the assessment of need when a short break is requested by a carer or parent. Where there are specific barriers to accessing a short break due to transport issues or hardship, support with transport will be considered on an individual basis through the assessment.

Your Social Care or Early Help worker will discuss transport needs when completing an assessment of need.

For queries contact the Children With Disabilities Team 01482 715 155 or 01482 612 501

How to access short breaks

Universal short breaks can be accessed without an assessment. Providers of Targeted and Specialist Services may have their own criteria and carry out an assessment through home visit to ensure they are able to offer the best support. More specialist short breaks services generally require an assessment through the Children and Families Disability Team or Health's Children and Young People's Continuing Care

For more information about how to access short breaks contact -

  • Children and Families Disabilities Team, telephone - 01482 715 155
  • Children and Young People's Continuing Care through the Single Point of Access Team (for Community Children's Nursing Service, Continuing Care Team and Community Paediatricians), telephone - 01482 221 261
  • KIDS, telephone - 01482 467 540