Short Break Services

What is a Short Break

‘Short breaks enable and support children and young people with a disability to live ordinary family lives, to have fun, try new activities, gain independence and make friends.  They provide parents and carers with a short break from their caring responsibilities.  Local authorities are required under the Children Act 1989 to provide services designed to give breaks for carers of disabled children.  The ‘Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations’ (2010) sets out what local authorities should do to meet their duties in relation to the provision of short breaks.

Families with children and young people with disabilities can access a short break by completing a Self Referral, or by having a professional assessment.

Specialist short breaks are available for children and you people aged 5 or over and who live in Tower Hamlets with either

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder(ASD) and severe learning difficulties; or
  • Complex health needs including those with physical and/or learning disabilities, those who require palliative care (continuing care) and those with associated sensory impairments. Complex health needs includes children and young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties and complex and severe medical needs who may also have an additional physical and/or sensory impairment.

To read more about short breaks in Tower Hamlets, read our Statement of Short Breaks Services

Short Breaks Available

The following short breaks are available in Tower Hamlets:

In addition, some of the borough’s schools offer after school clubs for children and young people.

Eligibility Criteria

A: Children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and severe learning difficulties with medium to high needs.

B: Children and young people with complex health needs including those with physical and/or learning disabilities and those with associated sensory impairments. Complex health needs includes children and young with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

* The age criteria for each of the specialist short breaks may differ accordingly

Inclusion Service

Tower Hamlets believes that disabled children and young people should be able to access universal services, experience fun and enjoy themselves with friends just the same as other children and young people. We also continue to explore new ideas for developing our range of short breaks including specialist and non-specialist services in universal settings.

Inclusion Plus

The Inclusion Officer works with families and service providers to help children and young people with disabilities access a range of fun and positive activities at inclusive universal settings, such as youth clubs and sports centres. By promoting inclusion, we are supporting our young people to enjoy the company and friendships of their non-disabled peers, as well as increase their confidence, life skills and independence in the community. To access support from the Inclusion Officer, you need to complete the self-referral form, and select the Inclusion Service form the list of options. Please have a look at Inclusion Services for more details.

Direct Payments

A direct payment is another way of promoting choice as this allows parents or carers of a disabled child or young person to access a short break or other support service independently of the Council. Direct payments are where the family is allocated a budget that they can use to purchase their own short break.  For example, the funding can be used to directly employ a support worker who will accompany their child to access activities in the community.

There is a direct payment support service which will help families throughout the entire process of setting up direct payments. This includes support with the recruitment process and completing all necessary paperwork. We strongly recommend that all direct payment workers are checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Families will need to have an assessment from children’s social care before they are allocated their direct payment