Short Breaks for disabled children 2017-2018
(Information for parents and carers – February 2017)
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council wants to give parents and carers choice and control over the short breaks they choose for their child.
Have the arrangements for short breaks for disabled children changed?
Yes – prior to April 2016, the Council commissioned fixed short break services from three providers: Sport Works, Daisy Chain and MAIN. Parents and carers were also able to apply for a grant of up to £400, every six months, to allow their child to access other short break activities. In some circumstances, a 1:1 support grant could also be applied for, to allow children to access community activities that they would have been unable to access independently. From 1st April 2016 however, the Council will no longer commission the fixed short break activities from Sport Works, Daisy Chain and MAIN. Instead, parents and carers will be able to apply for larger short break grants, which they can spend on a much wider choice of activities. The OASIS playscheme will continue to run separately to the grant process.
Did parents and carers have an opportunity to comment on the change?
Yes – we carried out a survey in October 2015 and the change in approach was supported by the majority of parents and carers who responded to the survey.
How much grant is available now?
From 1st April 2016, parents and carers of disabled children and young people aged 3-17 will be able to apply for a grant of up to £1,200 to allow their child to take part in short break activities. A grant of up to £300 will be available for children who already receive services as a result of an assessment of need, such as Direct Payments or overnight stays at Hartburn Lodge.
This year, in addition to the grant, we are offering a Max Card to parents and carers whose applications are agreed. The Max Card is a discount initiative for children and young people with a disability and allows free or discounted access to hundreds of attractions across the United Kingdom. Parents and carers will be able to indicate on the application form whether or not they would like to be sent a Max Card.
I received a short break grant in the last six months – do I need to complete a new application?
If you want your child to access the same activities as you previously applied for, and you are happy with the grant amount previously awarded, you do not need to complete a new application. We will send you a renewal form which you will need to sign and return to us. You will also need to make sure you have sent us the receipts for the activities your child has accessed, up to the value of the grant awarded, and that you have returned any monies not spent.
If you want your child to access different activities, or you would like to apply for an increase in the amount of grant you previously received, you will need to complete a new application. You won’t need to send us proof of your child’s disability this time, as we will have this on record from your previous application.
I haven’t received a short break grant before. How do I apply?
If you would like to apply for a short breaks grant for the first time you can find the application form in the Downloads section. Alternatively, you can request a form from the Short Breaks Support Officer, who can be contacted on 01642 526745. Please ensure you read the accompanying ‘Parents’ Guide’ before completing the application.
How do I return unused funds?
The attached form must be completed and returned to the address given.
Please note that anyone wanting to return unused funds in respect of the grant should complete the form and take it to their nearest cash office listed on the form.
Who should I contact if I have any questions about short breaks for disabled children?
You can contact the Short Breaks Support Officer, Frances Selby, on 01642 526745.