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Funding for short breaks pays off
Wednesday 05 October 2011
Government urged to monitor services to ensure continued improvement
A report published today (5 October) has highlighted an increase in regular, reliable and appropriate short breaks for families of disabled children in England.
‘Raised Expectations: parental experiences of short breaks’ is a report from Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM), of which Mencap is a member.
It addresses short breaks between 2007 and 2011, and says that funding for and a government focus on short breaks has ‘transformed’ the services on offer.
One parent quoted in the report said: “My son has now done surfing, he wouldn’t climb before but now he’s got to the top of the wall, he’s been on the zip wire, kayaking, drama, pantomime. It’s made him come out his shell; he’s just grown and grown from it all.”
“We are delighted to see the improvements in short break provision that local authorities have made,” said EDCM board member Christine Lenehan. “This report demonstrates the benefit of a funding and policy focus on short breaks.”
However, the report also warns that ‘it is clear that there is still progress to be made’. In particular, children with complex health needs continue to face barriers in accessing short breaks. Parents also expressed their concern about the future of short breaks, now that funding for them will no longer be ringfenced.
EDCM is urging the government to monitor short break services and ensure local authorities fulfil their legal requirement to publish a short break service statement, setting out details of services and eligibility criteria. Families can use the EDCM website to email their local authority to ask for details of their statement.
Christine Lenehan said: “In order to make sure services continue to improve, and to tackle remaining barriers for children with complex needs, EDCM urges the government to track local authority short breaks statements and to provide a transparent national picture for families with disabled children.”
Read the report