What are Short Breaks?

Short Breaks are activities for children and young people aged 5-17 with disabilities. 

Short Breaks come in a range of shapes and sizes. They can be activities that are available to everyone or activities with trained staff and specialist equipment. They can take place in the family home, at a centre or in the community. Short Breaks take place outside of school hours during evenings, weekends, school holidays and sometimes overnight.

What type of activity you might be able to get will depend on your child’s and family’s needs and preferences.

A Short Break should be a positive experience for everyone. It gives children and young people the chance to spend time away from their parents/carers, letting them take part in new activities, make friends, learn new skills, become more independent and have fun. At the same time, parents/carers can have a break.

You may also be offered direct payments which give more options for using your Short Breaks funding.

Find out who can get a Short Break and how to apply

How we decide the level of support

We use the Resource Allocation System (RAS) questionnaire to work out the day-to-day needs of a child or young person aged 5+ with disabilities. This helps us decide the individual budget for each child or young person for play, leisure activities and support to unpaid carers. This money is not to pay for health or educational services.

The RAS questionnaire allows us to make sure children and young people and their carers receive fair and equal resources.

If there is more than one child with disabilities in a family, then each child will have a separate RAS questionnaire.

When a social worker or the Short Breaks team uses the RAS questionnaire, they will refer to health and education reports as well as their own observations and assessments. Children who score in the higher ranges are more likely to need more specialist provision. The RAS funding tables show different bands of scores and the level of support and budget for each band.

There are 2 RAS questionnaires – one for primary school children (reception to year 6) and one for secondary school children (year 7 upwards).