Short breaks for SEND children and young people

Short breaks are activities for disabled children and young people (0 to 18) to take part in. They can range from an activity taking a couple of hours, or weekend club, to an overnight stay for those with more additional needs.

There are three different categories of short breaks, some available for all children and young people , others for those if your son or daughter has a particular disability or need.

Universal short breaks

Universal short breaks are everyday community services that can be used by everyone without an assessment. For example:

  • after school activities
  • childminders
  • leisure centres
  • uniformed organisations e.g. Scouts and Girl Guiding
  • special interest clubs
  • youth clubs
  • youth hubs.

Wherever possible, these should be accessible to disabled children and young people and should form part of the valuable experiences as they grow up. If you have concerns over how your son or daughter would access these services, please contact them directly to discuss your specific needs or concerns and ask about their accessibility.

Find a universal short break near you

Alternatively you can also:

Payments for universal short breaks

You may be charged to take part in universal short breaks, such as school clubs and activities. You should pay the same as other parents for your son or daughter to attend. These charges are set by the individual activity provider.

You must contact them directly to discuss costs.

Targeted short breaks

Targeted short breaks are specific short breaks which families of disabled children and young people can self-refer. These may be provided in the evenings, weekends and school holidays. They are for disabled children and young people, as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 2010, who cannot access universal services without needing additional support.

We purchase a number of short break activities across the county. All organisations that receive funding from us are required to register on our local offer directory.

View our directory of targeted services locally available to you (PDF, 183.8 KB)

Specialist short breaks

Specialist short breaks are daytime or overnight services, or services paid for by direct payments, including support in the home. They are designed to meet the needs of an individual child or young person and their carers after a social care assessment (child and families assessment or young person’s assessment from age 16).

Sensory supported short breaks

Children or young adults with sensory needs can access specialist services commissioned to meet their specific needs.

Contact our specialist teaching and learning service (STLS) for more information.

Overnight short breaks

We have short break foster carers for disabled children and young people in various parts of the county and also five centres in Kent which offer daytime or overnight stays for children and young people aged 5 to 17 with learning disabilities, social communication disorders, complex health needs and challenging behaviour.

Referrals for these services will be discussed with you as part of your assessment or annual review and could form part of your son or daughter's education, health and care plan.

The Short Break Units are:

They are supported by specialist heath staff from the Kent Community NHS Health Trust

Daytime or overnight short breaks with foster carers or in one of our centres cannot be purchased through direct payments.

Payments for specialists and targeted short breaks

For grant funded targeted and specialist short breaks you will be expected to make a parental contribution of at least £2.50 per hour towards the activities.

This contribution does not cover the whole cost of providing the break or activity but is a contribution at a similar amount to what all parents would pay for children’s clubs and activities.

Support for young adults over 16

Shared Lives support young adults aged over the age of 16.

Young adults can choose a placement of their choice, which is somewhere safe and supportive for them to stay in the home of a chosen host. Their host could be a single person, a couple or a whole family. They are able to be a part of a family, bring their own things and be supported in their hobbies, interests and activities.

Find out more about Shared Lives.