Short Breaks

Looking after a child with disability can be very rewarding and, at times, very demanding. A short break from these responsibilities gives parents and carers the opportunity for some time out and gives disabled children and young people the chance to have fun and make friends. ‘Short Breaks’ is a term that describes opportunities that support disabled children and young people to take part in fun activities and develop important skills, while giving their families a chance to have a rest from their caring responsibilities.

A short break can be anything from a couple of hours a week going swimming, attending a play scheme in the summer holidays, or sometimes spending the night with friends away from the family home. A short break is different from childcare, which enables parents and carers to work.

Short breaks are often described as being Universal, Targeted or Specialist depending on the circumstances of the children and families that use them.

  • Universal: These are general services available to all families with children, regardless of disability. Examples include playgrounds, after-school clubs, or day care centres (with potential adaptations for accessibility).
  • Targeted: These breaks offer more support for families with children who have additional needs but don’t require the most complex care. They might involve in-home respite care, specialised weekend clubs, or short getaways with trained staff.
  • Specialist: These are short breaks designed for children with the most complex needs. They often involve overnight stays in residential care with highly trained professionals and cater to specific needs like sensory processing or behavioural challenges.

All local authorities are required to publish a Short Breaks Statement. This is a document that is intended to help carers and those they help care for, as well as social workers and carer support staff, to be better informed about the assistance available to help carers and their families to achieve a break from caring. Please click on the link below for a copy of the current short breaks statement in Birmingham.

Short Breaks in Birmingham

Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Children’s Trust are reviewing the local short break services offer. This is because the current contractual arrangements will expire soon, so now is a good time to think about opportunities to spend the money that is available for short breaks differently to support better outcomes for children with disabilities and their families. For more information on short breaks services that are currently commissioned by the Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, please click on the link below.

Short Breaks Re-commissioning Survey

Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Children’s Trust are reviewing the local short break services offer. We want to work with local families and gather as many views as possible, so please take the time to answer the following questions. This is an anonymous survey, so please do not provide any personal data in your responses. Any feedback you provide will only be used in relation to this review of short breaks and not for any other purpose. More information on the way Birmingham City Council manages data protection can be found on the following link:

Your help will support the development of a new short breaks service offer in Birmingham. This survey will be open until 31st May 2024. We hope that the new offer will be in place by the end of March 2025 at the latest. Click below to find out more.

Short Breaks Regulations

For more information on the legislation around short breaks, please click on the following link: