Issue details

23/00084 - Targeted Short Breaks for Disabled Children, Young People, and Families

Proposed decision

The Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services is asked to:

a)    Approve the provision of grants to external providers to deliver Short Breaks for Disabled Children and Young People Service by commencing an Open Grants Process for the period 1 April 2024 – 31 March 2026.

b)    Delegate authority to award grants to providers to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services.

c)    Delegate authority to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education to take other relevant actions, including but not limited to finalising the terms of and entering into required legal agreements, as necessary to implement the decision.


Reason for the decision


In accordance with Section 25 of the Children and Young Person’s Act 2008, The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011 and the Children Act 1989 and 2004, there is a requirement to offer short breaks to children, young people and their families. The existing grant funding arrangement for Targeted Short Breaks for Disabled Children and Young People ends on the 31 March 2024. It is proposed that a competitive open application grant process for two-years is undertaken, covering 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2026. This will ensure sufficiency of Short Break activities are in place, whilst also continuing to test alternate Short Break models and implement the Short Break Strategy. The proposed Decision falls within the Key Decision Criteria of affecting two or more electoral divisions and expenditure over £1million for the lifetime of the project.



Short Breaks are a preventative family support services aimed at families with a disabled child or young person to allow them to have a break from caring. They also provide disabled children and young people the opportunity to have fun and learn while doing activities in a new environment outside of the home. They provide a chance to spend quality time within their community with other children and young people who may have similar life experiences, helping to build friendships and connections beyond the family. For parents and carers, Short Breaks provide regularly planned breaks from their caring responsibilities allowing time to pursue other activities, education, chores and spend time with other members of the family.


To access Targeted Short Breaks families do not require a Social Care assessment.  Families may be referred to a Short Break service via a Social Worker, Teacher, Early Help Worker, and can also self-refer.  When accessing Short Breaks children and young people have their needs assessed by the Short Break provider to ensure they can be offered the correct level of support. Short Breaks services can respond to a spectrum of need from mild to complex depending on staff training, access to the right resources and level of experience. Targeted Short Breaks mainly take place over school holidays, after school and at weekends.


The current Targeted Short Break grant agreements went live on 1 April 2022 (Decision 21/00095) and are due to end on 31 March 2024. There are currently 19 Short Break providers across Kent delivering 2,258 Short Break sessions per year with 21,523 places available across a range of locations.



1.    Do Nothing.  The current grants for Short Breaks for Disabled Children and Young People will end on the 31 March 2024. Kent County Council will fail in its duty to ensure sufficiency of Short Breaks activities are available to families of disabled children and young people.

2.    Extend the current service provision beyond the length of the grant agreement for a further 2 years. Such an approach does not account for the intelligence collected through engagement and family views within the Short Break Strategy, such as current lack of provision for children and young people with neurodiversity and those with complex needs.

3.    Competitive Open Grants Process for new grants to go live 1 April 2024 (Preferred Option) – This will allow the opportunity to develop and test alternate models of Short Breaks and allow the opportunity to incorporate improvements identified through the development of the Short Break Strategy. The grants based model ensures continued strong relationships with Short Break providers, essential for the implementation of the Short Breaks strategy. Contribute to financial stability to Voluntary Community Social Enterprise sector.



The proposed Decision is in line with:

·     Framing Kent’s Future: Our Council Strategy 2022-2026

·     Priority 4: New Models of Care and Support

·     We are committed to making rapid and sustained improvements in the support we provide to children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families, where we know that support has too often been lacking or delayed.

·       Kent’s Strategy for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities 2021-2024. Working together to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND:

·       Kent Civil Society Strategy for Kent 2021-2024: Supporting Connected Communities and a Sustainable Social Sector in Kent

·       Kent County Council SEND co-production charter:


Data Protection implications

The Local Authority will not be processing any personal data as part of the Grants Framework and therefore a DPIA is not required for this project.


Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 01/09/2023

Decision due: Not before 4th Oct 2023 by Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
Reason: To allow the required 28 day notice period under Executive Decision arrangements

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services

Lead director: Kevin Kasaven

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: Christy Holden, Head of Children's Commissioning.

Consultation process

Has any public consultation been undertaken or is any planned?


In the development of the Short Breaks Strategy, we have engaged families, children, and young people to ensure their views are considered in continuous improvement of Short Break services. We have engaged with parents and carers, disabled children, and young people in a variety of ways such as surveys, interviews, group work and workshops.


Cabinet Committee consultation:


This decision was considered and endorsed by the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee on 12 September 2023.


Which Divisions / Local Members are particularly affected: All


Financial implications: The available funding for Short Breaks Grants is expected to be £1,060,000 per annum and will be funded from the Strengthening Independence 0-18 Commissioning Revenue Budget. Additional funding from Kent and Medway Integrated Care System may be available to support children and young people who are Neurodiverse and discussions are currently ongoing. The total cost for the two years is £2,120,000. It is not expected that this programme will deliver savings, although the bids received will be tested for value for money prior to award.

Legal implications: Section 25 of the children and young person's Act 2008 requires local authorities to provide short breaks for families with disabled children - To impose a duty on local authorities to provide, as part of the range of services they provide for families, breaks from caring to assist parents and others who provide care for disabled children and young people. The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011 - Each local authority must produce a Short Breaks Service Statement so that families know what services are available. The Children Act 1989 and 2004 - All local authorities must provide a range of social care services to support children in need.

Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment has been undertaken and no issues have been identified at this stage. The equality impact assessment shall be kept under constant review as this project continues.