Respite care and short breaks
We know that looking after children with a range of special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) can be exhausting for parents/carers and you may sometimes feel like you need a short break 'time out' from your caring role.
We are keeping our short breaks under review in line with guidance and needs of families.
Contact us to share your views with us.
Short breaks statement
This is our short breaks statement and it explains how we support parents and carers to get a break from caring. It describes the kinds of short breaks that are available and how to get access to them.
Our vision is that all children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities in County Durham are an important part of their local communities and that these are inclusive.
Whilst children and young people are taking part in out of school activities, this allows a short and natural break for you to catch up with everyday activities, time for you to look after you physical and mental health wellbeing, and maintain and develop your social networks.
Your child/young person can benefit from the development of new interests, keeping fit, socialising with new friends and taking part in hobbies.
Some families are telling us that they feel overwhelmed with information and don't always know what is going on which could be of interest to their family and others are telling us that their family needs a personalised solution suitable to their needs.
In response to this feedback from families we have now created a Short Breaks Solutions telephone line and email. If you feel you are in need of a short break from your caring role but unsure how to get one whilst within the family home environment, or outdoors within the guidelines - please contact Short Breaks Solutions by phoning the telephone or email address below, If nobody is available to answer please leave your name and contact number on the Short Breaks voicemail.
- Telephone: 03000 260 270
- Email: email@example.com
We can work together to co-ordinate a creative response for your family. The frequency, duration and timing of short breaks can vary considerably; from a child attending a virtual activity, leisure facility for a few hours per week through to a child spending time with a 1:1 buddy community enabler. There is a small percentage of children whose needs are assessed by panel for the child to sleep at a children's residential setting overnight to secure a break for parent/carers.
The short break offer will be kept under review and updated in line with the guidance and needs of families. Please continue to share your views by using the contact us details.
For those families who have a social worker and are in receipt of outreach services or overnight respite., you can continue to link with your social worker in relation to these services where you feel you need more enhanced support than the short break solutions in the home. Your social worker will work with you on understanding the needs of your family during this time.
The Short Breaks Solutions Officer helps families in exploring universal community activities and the local offer for the first time. They will work with you to understand barriers that you are experiencing accessing your local community. If you are unable to access what is on within the local offer to meet your needs, then the council and our Health partners fund a number of providers to deliver an "Inclusive Community Short Breaks Offer". These providers have additional training and expertise to support children and young people with a range of special educational needs and/or disabilities. You can be referred to one of these providers without an assessment. The range of services delivered by these providers is included below.
Inclusive Community Short Breaks
Virtual activities - There are some activities that are operating virtually, including two online gaming sessions available through the Discord App and Family Fun Bingo which runs over Zoom. During school holidays family quizzes are also on offer.
Practical activities - Our provider for the Durham and Chester-le-Street area offers face-to-face activities in a group setting in the community. This helps young people access social activities and give s families some respite. They offer activities both during the school term and holiday period. Activities include gym sessions, football, Sportability, bowling, swimming and social activities such as going to the cinema or eating out with friends.
Keeping families connected - our keeping families connected provider offers lots of fun face-to-face sessions for the whole family such as Rof59, Infinite Air, Taekwondo, youth clubs and family days out. Last year families went to Hall Hill Farm, Autism friendly cinema screenings, multi sports, Beamish, Krazy Kingdom and the theatre.
Physical activity group programmes - This programme is for children and young people with SEND who are unable to take part in other physical activities on offer. Each programme will run for 2.5 hours every Saturday at a cost of £5 per session. The sessions are morning and afternoon. They are held at Bishop Auckland, Seaham, Shotley Bridge and Spennymoor.
Specialist youth groups - We have a specialist youth group in East Durham for children aged 10-16 who are unable to access any mainstream youth groups/ activities in their area. This activity runs on Thursdays between 6.00 - 7.45pm
Buddy - A buddy can provide a five-week programme of 1:1 support. This service is only available to extremely anxious children and young people who cannot manage in a group situation or get out of their home without 1:1 support.
Some of our current providers include:
There may be some families who require some additional support more than what can be offered from the Inclusive Communities Short Break providers. For example, your child might need a more specialist level of support, longer duration of session, or a different type of service.
For these families, Durham County Carers can work to understand your needs as a parent/carer. It may be that a referral is required to the First Contact Service for a social care worker to work with you and your family to understand your social care needs and complete a full assessment.
The assessment may indicate that you require some specialist short breaks to be provided for your family. The assessment will advise what level of specialist short breaks will be required. You may receive these services through a direct payment or specialist commissioned service. The social care worker must take the full assessment to a funding panel which is made up of social care staff, education staff and health staff to approve funding to support the assessment and needs of your family. Funding could be approved or an alternative solution recommended.
- Direct Payment - it may be agreed that the funding for support will be personalised and allow your family to employ their own support worker through a direct payment.
- Specialist Short Breaks - the council would search for a specialist short break provider to deliver the service for your family. These services include:
- Domiciliary Care - personal home care support into your family home.
- Community Outreach Support - where a specialist outreach support worker would allow your child/young person to access the community with support.
- Community Group Activities - this could include after school or weekend groups with specialist support.
- Over-night respite care - where your child would stay in a residential setting.
- Hospice care - where your child/young person would stay in hospice care.
Durham County Carers Support
Durham County Carers Support can offer support if you care for a child with additional needs in an unpaid capacity. They can help, advise and support you if you are finding your caring role very stressful and are struggling to manage. Help guide you with welfare benefits or provide some ongoing support. Depending on your circumstances they may be able to support you to access a carer break or grant, and issue you with a Carer Friendly Discount Card. Telephone 0300 005 1213, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Durham SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)
Durham Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Information Advice and Support Service will be able to provide you and your family with the correct information in relation to what is available for parent/carer support, financial support, emotional wellbeing, support to obtain food for your family, up to date guidance for your children returning to education etc. Telephone 0191 5873541 or 03000 267007.
- Short breaks solutions
- 03000 260 270