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Short breaks for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities

Short breaks offer disabled children and young people the chance to spend time out with others socialising and doing fun activities, giving their families a break and providing them with the confidence their child is well supported by a trained worker.

They range from play and leisure activities provided through community groups and leisure providers to overnight stays.

You can get up to 40 hours play and leisure activities a year - these hours are subsidised.

There's also a wide range of activities not funded by us in our directory.

How do I qualify for short breaks?

You can get up to 40 hours of activities if you live in Hertfordshire and you are:

Families pay £2 per hour for these activities.

Sometimes, disabled children and their families need access to further social care support as well as the 40 hours activities. To find out if your child is eligible for further specialist support, you can request an assessment from the 0-25 Together Service.

This guide to short breaks describes the process.

How to apply

If you're already receiving support from us you can discuss using the services with your 0-25 Together worker and if it's agreed, the 0-25 SEND Brokerage team will contact you to set this up.

If you're not registered with the 0-25 Together service, complete the short breaks application form and send it to the KIDS HUB together with evidence of the special need or disability, residence in Hertfordshire and your child's age.

KIDS HUBS will help find activities. When you send your form to the KIDS HUB, you will need to provide evidence of:

  • Disability as stated in the DLA or PIP or a letter from your GP or school SENCo
  • The age of the child or young person
  • Living in Hertfordshire

With your consent, your application form will be passed to your chosen activity provider, who will ask for more detailed information from you to ensure all safety, wellbeing and support needs are met.

You should receive confirmation within 4 weeks. You have to re-apply every year.

For any help or more information contact KIDS HUBS

Shared care

Shared care is family-based care that provides short breaks to Disabled Children and Young People from 4-18 years of age.  The scheme specifically recruits carers to support children who have additional needs. Our carers are from a wide variety of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. They can be individuals or couples, male or female, with or without children and may have pets, some carers work others may be retired.

All carers will have completed training before they are approved, will have a DBS and will continue to have regular supervision and training updates from members of the shared care team. When a service is offered each carer is closely matched to fit the needs of the child.

The breaks can be provided:

  • in the child’s home as a sitting service to enable parents to go out/ have some free time, or
  • as day care in the carers home, or
  • out in the community to access activities.

The support package (40hrs per annum) can be used flexibly depending upon the availability of the carer and negotiated between the family and carer to include weekdays and/or weekend support, or used during the school holidays.

This service provides peace of mind for parents, knowing their child is being properly looked after whilst away from them. It also provides the young child/person with some independence and gives them the opportunity to have fun, develop new relationships and access the community

Residential short breaks

Some young people with learning disabilities and complex health needs, may be eligible for a residential short break especially if they have needs throughout the night.

Children and young people can stay overnight during the week and/or at weekends depending on their assessed needs, spending time away from their main carers. A residential short break may be provided in a community residential setting or the home of an approved carer.

How do I get a residential short break?

A residential short break is a specialist service, available only once a social work assessment of need has been done. This assessment would be arranged via a referral through the County Council’s 0-25 Together Service (previously Disabled Children’s Service)

Where  they are:

West Hyde – provided by Action for Children

The Pines, Hertford - provided by Action for Children

Peartree - provided by Jubilee House Care Trust, for children 5 to 18 years old

Nascot Lawn

Nascot Lawn provides pre-school day care and overnight respite (for children aged 5 and over) for children with Learning Disabilities and additional health needs.  Referrals to Nascot Lawn can be made by professionals working in Health, Education or Social Care in Hertfordshire.  If parents wish to be considered for a place, they should approach one of the professionals involved in their child’s care to request a referral on their behalf.

Referrals are considered at a Panel – the Nascot Lawn Admission/Review Panel – which meets 6 times per year.

Hertfordshire's KIDS HUBS can help you with short break or respite queries and you can find out about direct payments too.