Lancashire County Council’s cabinet considers changes to children's Short Break service

Proposed changes to Children’s Short Break Services are being considered by Lancashire County Council’s cabinet at its meeting on Thursday, March 12.

Friday, 6th March 2020, 7:14 am
Proposed changes to Childrens Short Break Services are being considered by Lancashire County Councils cabinet at its meeting on Thursday, March 12.

Short Break services offer support to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families. They allow carers the opportunity to take a break from their caring role.

They include Break Time, where young people are supported to take part in activities at community venues for up to several hours at a time.

There are also daytime and night-time Short Break services accessed by children and young people who have had social care assessments.

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Cabinet will consider a proposal to run a new consultation on the following changes:

• Children and young people would be able to use Break Time if they have a learning difficulty or physical or sensory difficulty; live in Lancashire; and do not live with or are supported by paid carers.

• They could attend from the start of the academic year in which they turn five years old, up until the end of the academic year they become 18 years old.

• The Break Time offer is a minimum of 10 hours and a maximum of 50 hours of activities a year.

• Families will be able to purchase additional hours if they wish. They may also be able to access additional hours if it is identified as a need following a social care assessment.

• Families would contribute £2 per hour per Break Time activity, instead of the current charge of £1, which has not been increased for ten years, in addition to specific activity costs or entrance fees.

Children and young people aged 0 to 18 years would be able to access daytime and night-time short breaks, if this is identified as a need following a social care assessment.

There is also a proposal on a new way of procuring short break services.

County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “We listened to people’s views from the earlier consultation and asked for the service to come up with new proposals based on the responses given by people who took part. They have worked very closely with young people, their families, carers and providers to come up with these new proposals. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the review. We will carry out a new consultation following any decision to ensure people have the opportunity to share their views.”

Cabinet is considering these changes following a previous consultation on an earlier proposal to end the Break Time service. The responses indicated that the county council needed to consider the whole Short Breaks Service alongside Lancashire Break Time.