Short breaks for disabled children and young people and their carers

Being a carer can be physically and emotionally challenging, and it's important you have the opportunity to take a break from your caring role. There are lots of ways you can take what we call a 'short break' from caring.

This could be for a few hours, overnight, a weekend or longer. The person you care for will be looked after in a supportive, safe environment and perhaps enjoy new activities while you take some time for yourself.

What are short breaks?

Short breaks can provide opportunities for disabled children and young people to have enjoyable experiences away from their primary carers, contributing to their social inclusion and personal and social development. They also provide the parents and carers of disabled children and young people with a necessary and valuable break from their caring responsibilities.
short breaks can include day, evening, overnight, weekend or holiday activities. They can take place in the child or young person’s own home, in the home of an approved carer, a residential or community setting. Short breaks range from supporting disabled children to access a break within a universal setting, to providing specialist services at a local level.

Short breaks:

  • are intended to give children and young people the chance to do something they enjoy
  • should always meet the individual support needs of the child
  • should be available for families before they reach a crisis
  • can be anything from an hour-long activity at a youth club up to a few nights away from home
  • can be used to allow parents and carers to attend training, to spend time with other family members or to enjoy leisure or social activities themselves
  • should focus on achieving positive outcomes for the child or young person and their family

Who is eligible for short breaks?

The needs and family situation of each child is different and short breaks are therefore offered to meet specific needs in each case. Disabled children and young people who can answer yes to the following statements are usually eligible for a Short Breaks assessment

1) Your child or young person has an Education, Health & Care (EHC) Plan or a Statement of Special Educational Need (SEN) and

2) Your child has at least one severe, profound or complex disability which has a substantial and long term effect on the child or young person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities from the following categories:

  • Learning disability
  • Physical disability
  • Behaviours that challenge (including ASD)  
  • Health Issues 
  • Hearing and visual difficulties
  • Communication and learning needs

3) Your child/young person has tried to access universal (local/community) services?
4) Your child's or young person's disability has a big impact on your family’s daily life?
5)Your child or young person’s residential address is within the London Borough of Bromley and they are aged between 0-17?

Support can also be provided to families where the need may be greater due to individual family circumstances and not necessarily due to the severity of the child or young person’s disability.Examples of this include where there is more than one disabled child or young person in the family impacting on the parent’s ability to cope, or where additional support is required to safeguard a child.

Families that do not meet the threshold for services from the Children with Disability Service may be provided with general information and contact details for universal and targeted services. 

Applying for a short break

Parents and carers need to complete our short break assessment form.

Your assessment will be reviewed by the Children with Disability Service

Short breaks statement

Our short breaks statement is subject to annual review, using existing mechanisms for co-production with parents and carers and disabled children and young people in Bromley. The review process will provide an opportunity for parents and carers and disabled children and young people to express their views both directly and through media sources.

Personal budgets for children and young people with Education Health and Care (EHC) plans

Personal budget is an amount of money that can come from education, health and social care which families can spend on services and support which will be based on the assessed needs of your child/ young person. It is not the sum total of all the resources that are available to support your child.

Find out more about by reading the parent's guide to personal budgets for children and young people with EHC plans.

Supporting disabled young people as they become adults

As well as providing specialist short breaks support and other social care services for disabled children, young people and their families in Bromley our Disabled Children's Team also supports children and young people as they turn 18 to identify what support is needed once they become adults. Find out more about moving from child to adult social care.

Need more help? Find out to talk to

Contact the Information, Advice and Support Service for free, impartial information, advice and support for parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Support is also offered to children and young people with SEND. They can also help provide information in a non web format.