City of Wolverhampton Council is required to provide Short Breaks for families living in the city with a child/young person aged 0 to 25 years with a disability. This statement and our commissioning strategy form the basis of our plans for short break services. It ensures that we have available the range of short breaks that families value and need.
Short breaks are defined as: “part of the range of services provided for families, breaks from caring for carers of disabled children to support them to continue to care for their children at home and to allow them to do so more effectively”.
City of Wolverhampton Council is committed to shaping the social care market and introducing an outcome-focused approach. The delivery model is based on an ‘Outcomes-Focused Approach’, the aim of which is to shift the focus from activities to results. Outcomes are measured as specific changes in behaviour, condition and satisfaction for the people in receipt of the Service. The Council is committed to working with parents/carers and their representative organisations as well as young people to produce a truly collaborative future for the delivery of short breaks.
The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations came into force on 1 April 2011. These Regulations require each local authority to produce a Short Breaks Services Statement (the ‘Local Offer’) so that families know what services are available, the eligibility criteria for these services, and how the range of short breaks is designed to meet the needs of families with children with disabilities locally.
The short breaks and respite service aims to compliment the Council’s strategic outcomes by ensuring that:
- Children & young people get the best possible start in life
- Well skilled people working in an exclusive economy
- More good jobs & investment in our City
- Better homes for all
- Strong, resilient & health communities
A vibrant, green City we can all be proud of During the period 2019-2020 an overall review of the Short Breaks in the City was undertaken, and the outcome was a long-term plan for a whole system transformation which includes:
- Promoting independence through the introduction of personal budgets.
- Working with parents and young people to enable one choice
- Work with local stakeholders to ensure a whole system transformation
- Greater choice by developing a local market.
A short break can help disabled children to:
- Spend time with friends and make new ones
- Take part in interesting activities and new experiences
- Develop positive life and social skills
- Be more independent or confident
- Prepare for life as an adult
- Be safe
- Have fun
Short breaks can also help families to:
- Feel less pressured
- Be able to get on with normal routines
- Have some 'me time'
- Spend time with other children or together as a family
- Be confident that their child is safe and having fun with skilled carers who understand their needs
There are three tiers of service that can offer a short break:
Tier one (Universal Care) families will be supported to access services which are available to all citizens i.e. The Way, libraries, WV Active and other youth support through the #Yes offer.
- Families may need the following types of information:
- social care services that are available
- education – learning new skills, additional qualifications, colleges, careers advice, funding options
- health, health checks, keep-fit classes
- leisure and social activities
- avoiding loneliness, keeping busy
- social care for non-carer-related needs (as appropriate)
- how to contact social services
- employment advice or signposting– volunteering to build up work experience, writing a CV, interview skills, careers advice, self-employment and so on
This basic level ‘signposting’ service is available to all. There is no assessment.
Tier one supports the first of the ‘three conversations’; “How can I connect you to things that will help you get on with your life –based on your assets, strengths and those of your family?”
Tier two (Low to moderate care needs), families would receive the support in Tier 1 plus additional resource including more supportive ‘handholding’ in to mainstream services. In some cases, this will offer support and referral to Social Services and/or to the Wellbeing Service. It can include participation in peer support services such as specialist groups, including those elements of the framework for autistic spectrum disorders and medium to complex needs group activities. Tier Two services will include access to the ‘carer’s app’ (currently in development) which will offer a number of supported activities, discounts and other benefits, once this is launched. The ‘supporting families’ pathway is built in, ensuring needs are assessed and the right level of support is provided. Access to Tier Two services is not always assessed by a funding panel, but may require a referral from a school or other professional.
Tier two supports the second of the ‘three conversations’; “What needs to change to make you safe and regain control? How can I help make that happen?”
Tier three (Substantial to critical (High) care needs) families will be supported as in tier 2, plus a carer’s social work assessment. For the young person, an Early Healthcare Plan or Child in Need planning will link in to specialist services. Tier three is for those families who have additional personal needs and access to available services including residential short breaks, support with engagement at school, support from community mental health services, etc. Access to Tier Three services is through a social services assessment process and may involve a funding panel. Tier three services include those elements of framework provision (outreach and buddying) which offer personalised support packages based on need.
Tier three supports the third of the ‘three conversations’; “What is a fair personal budget and what are the sources of funding? How can I help you to access them? What does a good life look like? How can I help you to use your resources to support your chosen life?”
Tier Three support will require a decision from the Children and Young People’s Funding Panel. Panel decisions are typically reviewed every six months, or sooner if circumstances warrant it.
The implementation of the short breaks review has been delayed due to the pandemic which made coproduction more difficult. The SEND Partnership is strongly committed to coproduction and it was decided to delay the implementation of the short break review until true coproduction could commence.
The time line for implanting the recommendations of the short break review is to start in October 2021 with an implementation deadline of September 2022.
In the meantime, the current short break provision is:
The Community Short Breaks Provision
Saturday Youth Group / School Holiday activities: This provides activities for children and young people aged 5 to 18 years old, with specific clubs set up for different age groups and needs. It is provided by Progress Care. The young people who use this service are currently being reviewed to see if the service that they receive could be better provided through the framework (below).
Community Short Breaks Framework consisting of 4 lots.
- Lot One: Outreach - Outreach (choice of 3 providers). This offers support for children at home and to access community activities. Outreach support for service users aged between 1 to 18 years old.
- Lot Two: Buddying (choice of 3 providers). This works on a 1 to 1 basis to support young people. The provision supports service users aged between 12 to 18 years old to access mainstream provision and community facilities.
- Lot Three: Activity groups for children and young people with Autistic Spectrum conditions aged between 8 to 18 years old. (single provider)
- Lot Four: Group based activities for service users with medium to complex needs, aged 5 to 18. To be delivered at weekends and during school holidays
Residential (overnight) Short Breaks
There are three elements to this service:
- Residential unit providing planned overnight and day time short breaks
- Outreach Support, providing short breaks in the family home or community setting
- Emergency short breaks provision to support families in crisis
Overnight short breaks is provided by Progress Care facility “Stourbridge House” and by various providers out of city, including Bluebells, Cannock Chase Resource Centre, and Daisybrook.
Schools-based short breaks
City of Wolverhampton Council has retained a schools-based grant provision as part of its overall offer. This grant is allocated to the six special schools in Wolverhampton. There are no specific criteria which determine an ‘eligible activity’ under the Grant, however bids for support are expected to:
- Contribute to the Council’s overall strategic objectives:
- People and communities achieve their full potential
- Challenging and supporting schools to provide the best education for children and young people
- Enabling communities to support themselves
- Support ‘short breaks’
- Have children, young people and their parents/carers at the centre of developing, planning and evaluating services.
- Support the development and delivery of EHC plans
- Be clearly defined from the ‘normal offer’ or ‘core business’ (i.e. it must demonstrate ‘additionality’. This means that the session/activity would not go ahead, or would go ahead in a reduced form, if grant funding were unavailable)
- Demonstrate value for money
Short Breaks Caravans at Porthmadog and Burnham on Sea.
- These offer residential holidays to families. Access is controlled through the Disabled Children and Young People’s Team. It is not possible for all requests for access to the caravans to be accommodated, and therefore preference is given to those families with the greatest need who have not previously accessed the service.
The Council is committed to working in partnership with parents and their representative organisations, for example Voice4Parents. The voice of children and young people will be represented by Hy5 the young people forum. The council is committed to developing services in partnership with those who use them and providers.
The Commissioning intention is to have a Dynamic Purchasing System for our short breaks offer and both parents and young people will be part of the process to implement this framework in the City.
The short break services statement is approved and overseen by the Special Educational Needs & Disabilities and Commissioning Partnership Board. The Board meets half-termly and comprises representation from parents, young people, social care, health and education professionals, voluntary sector partners and parents.
In partnership with Voice 4 Parents and Hy5 the statement will be reviewed annually to keep it up to date. We will consult before making changes to ensure our short breaks continue to reflect the needs of families living in Wolverhampton who have children with disabilities.
We will make sure our Short Breaks Service Statement is published on the Local Offer and other online information services. Through our partnerships with Voice 4 Parents, Hy5 and the Information Advice and Support Service, we will make sure that families have access to our Local Offer.
The Short Breaks strategy and the local offer is part of an overarching commitment to supporting people in the city to live the most fulfilling lives possible. The strategy links to the Council’s vision for the city, and is closely associated with the following: