Lancashire County Council’s cabinet is to consider proposed changes to its short break offer for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The new proposals, which will be discussed at the cabinet meeting on Thursday 4 March, follow a consultation, which took place last autumn.
The short break offer consists of activities and services that can be accessed by children with SEND and their families if children meet the eligibility criteria.
Some of these services can be accessed without a social care assessment of need. These include events and activities that are part of the Early Help offer and the Break Time Service.
Other services can only be accessed if the child or young person is eligible through a social care assessment of need. These include Day Time and Night Time short breaks.
The county council has listened to and considered the views of young people, their families, partner organisations and other interested parties in developing the new proposals which include the following:
• Eligible children and young people will be able to access Break Time from the start of the academic year (September) in which they turn age 5 to the end of the academic year in which they turn 18 (July).
• Each child or young person can access up to 78 hours of Break Time activity within a year.
• Families will be able to purchase additional hours of Break Time activities if they want to access more than 78 hours.
• There will be an increase to the parent carer contribution towards Break Time activities and groups from £1 to £2 an hour.
• Families can request a social care assessment of need if they do not feel the new Break Time offer meets their needs.
A new service called Break Time Plus will also be commissioned, which children and young people can access if they have had a social care assessment of need.
Day Time and Night Time short break services:
Children and young people aged 0 to 18 years would still be able to access Day Time and Night Time short breaks, if this is identified as a need following a social care assessment.
Edwina Grant OBE, executive director for education and children’s services, said: “We have listened to the views of children, young people, their families, and other interested parties, which they shared with us in the latest consultation and come up with a new proposal for the short break service.
“The revised proposals would ensure Break Time can be accessed in a much fairer way, so everyone can make use of the hours they are entitled to.
“We are proposing increasing the number of hours people can access the service from 50, which was set out in the original proposal, to 78.
“We are also looking to commission a Break Time Plus service, which can be used by young people where a need for this support has been identified through a social care needs assessment.
“We believe these changes would ensure that everyone has better and fairer access to the short break offer and that the services run in a sustainable way.
“These are proposals at this stage and will be considered by our cabinet at its next meeting.”
To read the full cabinet report on this item, visit: council.lancashire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=10412