Short breaks – for families of disabled children

Sometimes families who have disabled children and/or health conditions benefit from a break from their caring responsibilities. Local authorities/trusts now have duties to provide short break services and make clear how families can access them.

Short breaks are a way of getting a break from your caring responsibilities and an opportunity to recharge batteries, spend time with others or pursue a particular interest. They can also allow your child to have a change of scene, try different experiences, have fun and make friends.

Short breaks can include:

Care at home – includes sitting or care attendant schemes, which provide someone to sit with or ‘mind’ your child.
Day care away from home – includes nurseries, playgroups, out of school and weekend clubs and, during school holidays, access to playschemes.
Overnight short breaks – includes an overnight sitting or nursing service if your child needs it.
Residential breaks – includes residential homes, special units in hospitals and hospices.
Family link schemes – where your child stays with another family on a regular basis or occasionally.

Contact, an organisation that works for the benefit of families with disabled children has a comprehensive guide to short breaks, plus a wealth of other information and resources – visit their website here: