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What is a Short Break?

Portsmouth City Council’s aim is to commission and offer a range of reliable, local short break provision to enable carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities and to enable children, young people and their families to lead as fulfilling a life as possible and to enjoy, achieve and have access to the same opportunities as others in life.

What Short Break services are available?

Portsmouth City Council provides short breaks during the day, evening, overnights and at weekends.

These breaks may happen within:

  • the community
  • the child or young person’s home
  • the home of an approved carer
  • a residential setting

Short breaks come in many different forms and can last anything from an hour to days. The length and type of break will depend on your child, young person and family.

The Short Breaks Statement describes the different categories of short breaks, all of which are accessed in different ways. Click on the links at the bottom of the page to read the Short Breaks Statement or on the other sections for further information.

Short Breaks for disabled children

Short Breaks Statement

The Short Breaks Statement is a guide to services offered by Portsmouth City Council.

It tells you what types of short breaks are available to support your family and how to find suitable services.

It also sets out the eligibility criteria and how you can access services.

Click here to view the document.

Levels of Support

The Levels of Support describes who can access services/support and what is available.

Click here to view the document.

Universal Short Breaks

These are services that are open to all families with disabled children who can access provision with the same level of support as any other child/young person.

Examples of universal services are:

  • Youth clubs
  • Family hubs
  • Sports clubs
  • Leisure and play activities

Targeted Short Breaks Level 1

Level 1 Short Breaks can be accessed directly by parents and carers. All children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities who have additional needs that cannot be met by universal services can access these.

Level 1 Services supported by Portsmouth City Council are:

Targeted Short Breaks Level 2 - Specialist Holiday Playscheme

Level 2 Short Breaks are for children and young people who require a higher level of support and can be accessed directly through self-referral by the parent and carer or a referral by a Lead Professional from Education, Health and Social Care services.

Level 2 Short Breaks include the Specialist Holiday Playscheme. It provides for children/young people aged 5 – 18 years requiring high levels of supervision owing to severe physical/learning difficulties and/or autism. The playschemes take place during all school holiday periods except Christmas; transport is provided and all children are given the opportunity to participate in wide-ranging activities.

Click here for further details.

Targeted Short Breaks Level 2 - Prepaid Card

The Prepaid Card is for children and young people who require a higher level of support to access short break activities. It can be applied for directly through self-referral by the parent/carer or a referral by a Lead Professional from Education, Health and Social Care services.

The Short Breaks Prepaid Card was introduced as a personal budget to enable families to access short breaks that best meet their individual needs.

A parent/carer will be eligible for a card if they are residents of Portsmouth and their child either attends:

  • a special school for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and is under the age of 18.
  • a mainstream school and/or college/post 16 provision and have an Education, Health and Care Plan that specifies full time support (equivalent to 25 hours or more support in school or 16 hours or more support in college) and is under the age of 18.

For further information on the Prepaid Card click here.

Specialist Provision

Some children with disabilities will have more complex needs that require more specialist short breaks and/or significant additional support from another person to enable them to participate in enjoyable activities and stay safe. They should already be receiving support through universal and targeted services, but this may not be sufficient.

These specialist services include care and support within and outside the home; overnight short breaks and access to family link carers. Some will be provided by social care, such as overnight care, and others, which include specialist holiday play schemes and after school and evening activities, via Portsmouth City Council or the voluntary sector.

Access to specialist services is determined through a social care assessment. This assessment will identify and address your child’s needs as well as the needs of the wider family including the parent carer.

For further information, click here to view information on the Children’s Disability Service.

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