The short breaks, made statutory in the Children and Young Persons Act 2008, are not just respite for the parents or carers. They also provide an opportunity for disabled children and young people to spend time with other children their own age.
The breaks are not meant to be a last resort, they should be part of a more general package of support for carers. The flexibility of breaks needs to be matched to the needs of families.
The Welsh Government has provided £1.5 million annually for 4 years in specific grant funding to local authorities between 2007 and 2010, to promote and improve short break services for disabled children, young people and their families. Since 2010 that funding has been supplied through the Local Authorities’ revenue Support Grant
Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services said:
“Local authorities will need to assess local needs. There will be different opportunities and offers in different areas and this should be reflected in the breaks that are made available.
“It’s vital that parents and carers are made aware of the types of services available to them.
“This is in line with what we want to achieve through the range of provisions in the forthcoming Social Services (Wales) Bill.”