Specialist and Overnight Short Breaks

What are Specialist and Overnight Short Breaks?

Some families are able to support their child with disabilities through their own networks and with informal support from friends, relatives and local support groups. Some families find that they do not have the support available and need additional help to cope with the demands of caring for a child with disabilities. This type of service is for children and young people with the most complex needs, and their families, offering an individualised support package. It is accessed by requesting a Child and Family Assessment which will be undertaken by a Social Worker.  Eligibility criteria are applied following the collection of information for the assessment. Any needs identified in the assessment that the local authority should meet, will be used to develop a support/care plan  which will also outline services that may meet those needs.

How can Specialist and Overnight Short Breaks help me?

A Child and Family Assessment may identify a need from the following types of support.

  • The needs will concern the parent’s ability to care for and continue to care for the child.
  • They are concerned with trying to stop the need for court proceeding.
  • They are also for stopping the need for children to be accommodated fulltime.
  • General duties regarding the welfare of the child.

The types of services that may be used to meet the above needs if assessed that they are needed, would be.

  • Advice, guidance and counselling.
  • Occupational, social, cultural or recreational activities.
  • Domiciliary care services.
  • Facilities for, or assistance with, travelling to and from home for the purpose of taking advantage of any other service provided under this the Children Act 1989 or of any similar service.
  • Assistance to enable the child concerned and his family to have a holiday.
  • Overnight short breaks or day care short breaks.

Direct payments are offered in lieu of any of the services that are mentioned above. They are cash payments that are put into a budget where parent/carer/children can use that money to develop their own support plan.

How can I access the Specialist and Overnight Short Breaks Service?

To request an assessment you can call Cumbria County Council’s Safeguarding Hub on: 0333 240 1727 and ask for a Child and Family Assessment.

Child and Family Assessments

The child and family assessment is the assessment used by children’s social workers to understand the presenting issues and the impact on the child/ren in the context of the whole family.

The child and family assessment can take up to a maximum of 45 working days to complete (we would expect the assessment to take 45 days to complete only in exceptional circumstances) . The areas explored in the assessment are informed by 3 domains:

  1. Child developmental needs.
  2. Parenting capacity.
  3. The family and environmental factors.

The assessment will:

  • Be strengths based.
  • Include information from other agencies.
  • Include direct work with the child to ensure their voice is heard.
  • Include the views of both parents.
  • Include a family tree or genogram developed with the child and parents.
  • Include a network meeting to understand who else supports your child and family.

We will discuss what services are available to help your child achieve positive outcomes.
If your child is not eligible for specialist short breaks services, we will share advice and information on other services that may be available in your area.

Further information

Page last reviewed: 27/02/2024

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