What is a short break?

Short breaks are services which support children in need and their families. They include the provision of day, evening, overnight and weekend activities for the child, and can take place in the child’s own home, the home of an approved carer, or in a residential or community setting.  

Most users of Short Breaks are disabled children and their families but nondisabled children in need may also receive short break services. 

The breaks usually have two aims: 

  • to enable the child to participate in safe, fun and interesting activities,  
  • and to provide a break from caring for the parents.   

There are 4 main types of Short Breaks:  

  • Universal Short Breaks
  • Targeted Short Breaks
  • Early Help Support Services
  • Specialist Services Short Breaks 
What do we mean by disability?

For Universal and Targeted Short Breaks, the law directs that the definition used regarding disability is that contained in the Equality Act 2010: ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day to day activities'.  

For specialist services the law directs that the definition of disability is the one contained in the Children Act 1989

Page last reviewed: 27/04/2023

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