Council seeks views on support for families of disabled children

21 September 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council have launched a consultation into their policy for providing services that can help families with a child or young person with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND).

The services known as ‘short breaks’ give SEND children the chance to have time away from their families, make new friends and have fun.

They are designed to meet different levels of need and allow parents to have a break from caring for their child, giving them the chance to spend time with their other children, carry out day to day tasks which they must perform in order to run their household, or take part in education, training or leisure activities.

 Short breaks include a range of: 
  • Day-time care in the homes of disabled children or elsewhere
  • Overnight care in the homes of disabled children or elsewhere
  • Educational or leisure activities for disabled children outside their homes 
  • Services available to assist carers in the evenings, at weekends and duringschool holidays.  
Estimates predict that eight per cent of children and young people have some form of disability* which equates to approximately 7,500 residents aged under 25 in our borough. Around half of these children and young people are expected to have a disability or long-term condition that limits their day to day activities. Not all children with a disability will have special educational needs.

Feedback from children and families is that children and young people with SEND want the same opportunities as their peers and access community activities with peers and to have fun with their friends. 

Councillor Robert Cernik, cabinet member for children and families  said; “We want to ensure our short breaks scheme is  consistent, fair and transparent offering  flexibility and choice for families and  helping parents and children build networks that connect them to their community 
 “Our short breaks scheme should enable parents to feel resilient in their role as carers, clear about understanding how to get support before they reach crisis point, and confident their child can receive high-quality care from trained, professional staff in a safe environment. 

“This programme of services, commissioned by the Council, needs to ensure the right mix of solutions to respond to a family’s changing needs.  This should include supporting young people in their transition to adult services ”

 As services change and adapt to meet the needs of local communities during and after the coronavirus pandemic, the Council wants to hear from all the families and support networks of children and young people who receive these services and other groups who might work with them.
Councillor Cernik continued, “We expect more people to need these services in coming years at the same time as local authorities and clinical commissioning groups come under increasing financial pressure.  We must plan to meet current and future requirements, spending money where there is the greatest need, ensuring services are equitable and that people who want to use the service are treated fairly and consistently.” 

 You can give your views on the draft strategy online on the Participate Now website or request a paper or ‘easy read’ version by calling 0300 123 8123.  Please return in the prepaid envelope provided to Short Breaks Commissioning Strategy Consultation, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Council Offices,4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE
* Cheshire West and Chester Joint Strategic Needs Assessment – Special Educational Needs and Disability – September 2019

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