Short breaks statement overview
Our short breaks statement explains how we are supporting parents and carers of disabled children and young people to get a break from caring. It gives details about how we use our budget to fund and promote what are known as 'short breaks'. It describes the kinds of short breaks that are available and how to get access to them.
There is no definitive number of disabled children and young people in Kent, as the statistics available use different definitions of 'disability' and different ways of counting the numbers. We do know that almost 16.000 children and young people from 0-24 years claimed some form of Disability Living Allowance in February 2014, and that there are over 7,600 children with a statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan. This year, Kent County Council is planning to commission a total of 116,800 short breaks, which could be anything from a few hours to a few days, and to spend £9.6 million funding short breaks.
We posted a consultation draft document on our website last autumn, and asked parents of disabled children what they thought about it. We had over 230 responses to our proposals.
We wanted to look at some of the issues that parents had raised in more detail, so we invited a selection of parents to meetings across the county. Two main points emerged:
- the draft statement was too long and complicated
- services were needed for children who did not meet the criteria for Kent County Council's Disabled Children's Service.
We then went away and wrote the statement in a style that was more reader friendly, and redesigned some of our services.
In the past, there hasn't always been fairness around the way that short breaks were distributed across Kent. This sometimes meant that if you lived in one part of Kent you were more likely to get a short break than if you lived in another part. Some of this is out of our control because we do not commission or fund all the services for disabled children and young people in the county, but we have now made sure that our budget is used fairly. No matter where you live in Kent, if the short break service is funded by us, our aim is that you will have an equal chance of getting access to it.