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Short Breaks Service for Disabled Children

A short break is a good quality, fun, positive activity that your disabled child or young person can either attend with you or independently. A short break can last from a few hours or overnight, depending on your child’s level of need. It can take place in your own home, in a supported setting, or within the community. It provides families with a break from their caring role and time to spend with other family members or to have time for themselves. Services provided direct to children are also there to meet any identified parent carer needs.

Walsall Council provides a range of Short Break Services through our Early Help and Social Work Children’s Disability Services for children and young people with disabilities, their parents or carers and other family members specifically siblings.

There is range of short break services available in Walsall (UNIVERSAL, TARGETED AND SPECIALISED) Short breaks range from supporting disabled children to access a break within a universal setting, to providing specialist services at a local level. They can take place in the child or young person’s own home, in the home of an approved carer, a residential or community setting. Support can be available in evenings, at weekends, throughout the school year and during the school holidays based on assessed needs.

Activites include:

  • Day-time care in the homes of children with disabilities or elsewhere
  • Overnight care in the homes of children with disabilities or in a residential setting
  • Educational or leisure activities for children with disabilities outside their homes
  • Term time Group activities specific to child’s age and skill level
  • A variety of Summer Play Schemes that are age / theme specific

Walsall’s Short Break Statement 2020 – 'CURRENTLY UNDER REVIEW' 
Short Break statement sets out our vision for families living in Walsall who have disabled child aged up to 18.  Our Statement for 2020 is currently under review and we will be working from all the groups who are interested in Short Breaks in Walsall to ensure our Statement is coproduced and includes the information our families need to know about Short Breaks in Walsall. This will include parents, children and young people, providers of Short Breaks services and a range of professionals from different agencies. 

This statement outlines who can access a short break and how. We may need to assess your child and family to ensure that we provide the right level of support and short break services. Our Statement will available to access on this page once our review has been undertaken.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Heather Maybury
Contact Position
Short Breaks Co-Ordinator
01922 650490 or 07780 004577

Where to go

Walsall Families Information Services (FIS) 0300 555 2866

Other Details


Age Ranges
Referral required
Referral Details

Who can access short breaks

We use a fair, empathetic and transparent eligibility criteria so that the service is available to all and not just used for those families at points of crisis or under threat of family breakdown.

A child or young person maybe able access a Short Break if they:

  • Have a disability
  • Are aged 0 to 17 (until their 18th birthday)
  • Live in Walsall.
  • In receipt of Disability Living Allowance

Families can also talk about short breaks to those professionals involved in your child’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) statement when they are discussing your child’s Education Health Care (EHC) Plan. They can also advise on eligibility and suitability.

Local Offer


WHAT WE DO AND WHAT WE CAN OFFER  Walsall Short Breaks are preventative, family support services that provide a disabled child or young person with a break from their parent/carer and vice versa. Short Breaks are part of the support for an ‘Ordinary Life’ as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014. Short Breaks allow parents and carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities and gives children and young people the opportunity to lead and ordinary life; participate in activities with their peers and develop skills for independence.

(Activities open to all our families with disabled children)Walsall wants our families with disabled children and young people to be able to access the Short Breaks services that are universally available to all members of the public. We will improve to quality of the signposting to the numbers of mainstream settings available to our families by working with universal services in challenging barriers to inclusion, and offering equality of opportunity to our disabled children. Our families should be able to access fun activities, with parents receiving a break from caring if the children can be left. 

EXAMPLES OF UNIVERSAL ACTIVITIES:  Leisure and sports services; Youth and play services; Public spaces – e.g. parks and adventure playgrounds; Early years services and children’s centre; Extended services in school including after-school and holiday clubs; Voluntary and community facilities; Scouts, Guides, Brownies; Sports and Games Clubs.

For more information on UNIVERSAL SERVICES, please contact Walsall Family Information Service (Walsall FIS) on  0300 555 2866.

TARGET SERVICES (Access through a Short Breaks Passport and Early Help Assessment) Targeted activities are intended for children and young people who are disabled and who need some additional support to access unverisal services and services specifically designed to meet their needs. Access is usually for children and young people who meet the eligibity critieria for these activites but without the need for a social care assessment.

EXAMPLES OF TARGETED ACTIVITIES: School Holiday Activity Play schemes (A Short Break Booklet for the School Holiday Play Schemes is produced for every holiday excluding Christmas. The booklet is available six weeks before each school holiday and emailed out to the mailing list of parents, carers, lead professionals and stakeholders who have opted in to this service. The booklet is also be available to view and download at  for each scheme.  This booklet include a form so families can complete and express an interest in the activities); Weekend activities; Leisure and Outdoor pursuits services ; Outcome focused Activity Workers.

To access Targeted Activities, children and young people will be; aged from 0-17years old (up to 18th birthday); live in Walsall, have a diagnosed disability and be in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA). Children and Young People who meet the eligibility criteria can access Targeted Short Breaks by completing an Early Help Assessment, which can be requested by contacting the Early Help Hub on 0300 555 2866, selecting Option 1 and by completing the Short Breaks Passport.  

- Early Help Hub (EHH) provides a coordinated point of contact for all referrals to early help as well as providing advice and guidance. The service operates on an ‘ask anything’ basis. EHH will also be able to advise you on services/support you and your family may be able to access (i.e. weekend/ day support).

- Short Breaks Passport
Families are asked to register for Short Breaks by complete a Short Break Passport for each child accessing the service. The Passport ensures the right support is place to support our families. The Passports are reviewed with families on a 12month basis, although the passport can be updated at any time by families if changes are required.

A template of the Short Break Passport is available to download to the right of this page to complete and returned to Once returned, families details will be added to the mailing list to receive future communications regarding Short Break activities.

SPECIALIST OFFER (Services accessed through a Social Care Needs Assessment. Specialist services are for our families with the most complex needs who require more support than is offered through play and leisure services. This may be because of changes in the family’s capacity to support their child or because the child or young person’s needs are or have become greater.

Some families will have a wider network of support that includes friends, relatives and local support groups. However, our families who do not have this support or the family would benefit from extra support from Walsall Council, our families can request a social care needs assessment.

Access to these Specialist services requires a social work assessment and a referral to the Walsall Complex Care and Short Breaks resource allocation panel. The Panel determines eligibility for services based on the family environment, parenting capacity and the child’s development. This will include consideration of our child’s needs and the strengths and risks to the child’s family.

Families may be eligible for specialist services from social care if their child requires substantial additional support as a result of their disability and additional needs. Some examples of when our families have been assessed to require more support are detailed below:

  • when specialist equipment is required to be mobile;
  • support is required to be able to undertake all basic self-care functions (that are age appropriate);   
  • the child or young person requires constant supervision throughout the day and for prolonged periods at night (when no longer age appropriate);
  • as a result of their disability our child or young person’s behaviour proves a serious risk to themselves and/ or others:  this includes self-harm;
  • without support their ability to communicate severely affects their personal safety, i.e. they are non-verbal. 
  • they have a profound and multiple learning disability, severe learning disability, or autism with challenging behaviour, which results in a significant risk of self-harm or harm to others.
  • Members of the family have physical or mental conditions or needs that limit the support that Parent/Carer can provide.

EXAMPLES OF SPECIALIST ACTIVITIES : Specialist Overnight Residential Short Breaks - A break for the parent from their caring role and the opportunity for the child/young person to experience/expand their independence in a supported way. Bluebells is a residential short breaks home that provides overnight breaks to children who have a learning difficulty and complex needs. And they provide this care for those children aged 5 to 18; Walsall Short Break Foster Scheme provides overnight short breaks to disabled children, whose needs can be best met by individual care within a family based setting. This can be provided for those children aged 0 to 18 years; Assistance with personal care - Advice and assistance to parents/carers in undertaking personal care for their child / young person following an assessment of need;  Direct Payments/ Personal Budgets: Parents or a young person could purchase a short break utilising a 'direct payments' budget; Outcome Focused Activity Workers.

To request a social care assessment to be undertaken by Walsall’s Children with Disabilities Team please contact Walsall’s Multi Agency Screening Team (MAST) on 01922 651870.

Contact Email
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