Short breaks for children who need additional support

What is a Short break?

A short break provides opportunities for children and young people with disabilities, who are assessed to be eligible for our service, to take part in positive activities, working towards agreed outcomes whilst also providing respite for their families/carers from their daily caring role.

Short breaks can take place in the home or in the community and are personal to the child and young person's individual needs. They can include day, evening, overnight, weekend or holiday activities.

How do I access a Short break?

To request access to a short breaks service, you will need to refer via the Children’s First Contact Service (CFCS). Parents/carers and professionals will be required to complete the CFCS referral form. This will then be passed to our Children and Young People’s Disability Service for action. 

Find a list of Short Break Providers

What happens next?

A Specialist Support Worker will contact the parent/carer and organise a suitable time and date to carry out an Early Help Assessment. View the Early Help Assessment Tool (GoogleDoc).This assessment will help us to determine the support needs of your child/young person and family. If you are eligible for a short breaks package, we will agree together what outcomes we will work towards as a result of accessing a short break. 

My assessment has been completed, what happens now?

Following your completed assessment, your case will be presented at the fortnightly Resource Panel and, once approved you will receive a letter confirming the agreed package and detailing any next steps. Your next steps will be dependent on the package of support that has been approved. For example whether it is in the form of a Direct Payment or a Personal Budget. Your Specialist Support Worker will explain the different options to you during the Early Help Assessment. 

How long do I get a Short break for?

A package of support is usually approved for a 12 month period, but this is dependent on individual needs and sometimes we may need to review the support in place earlier. This could be at 3 or 6 months, or, if your child or young person’s needs have changed during this time. A Specialist Support Worker will contact you to carry out an Early Help Review. View the Early Help Assessment Tool (GoogleDoc). This is a shorter assessment than the previous Early Help Assessment and focuses on your child’s and family current need, how the Short break package is working and revisiting the agreed outcomes planned for. Once reviewed it could be that the Short break package is slightly changed or continues as it has been previously. Your case will be again presented at the Resource Panel for the new package to be approved. Some children respond really well to the packages of support we put in place and meet their outcomes and they may be ready to access universal activities. 

Short Breaks Application Process

Step 1 - Application. Complete a Children's First Contact Service (CFCS) Form. 

Step 2- Evidence. CFCS will contact you to discuss your referral to ensure that your application is supported in the right team, and to get evidence of your child/young person's disability. 

Step 3 - Specialist Support Worker. A Specialist Support Worker from the CYPDS team will contact you to organise a time to carry out an Early Help Assessment. 

Step 4 - Early Help Assessment. Your Specialist Support Worker will complete the assessment with you and you will jointly agree on outcomes to work towards for your child/young person as a result of accessing a Short Break. 

Step 5 - Resource Panel. Your case will now be presented at the Resource Panel. A multi-agency team will discuss your case and the proposed support package. 

Step 6 - Decision. If approved,  you will receive an emailed letter confirming the approved package and how long it will be in place: either 3, 6 or 12 months. If not approved or partly approved, your Specialist Support Worker will contact you to discuss further an explain our decision. 

Step 7 - Review. Your package will be reviewed at the agreed dates e.g 3, 6 or 12 months after it starts. We will look at how the Short Breaks package has supported your child/young person and family and whether they have achieved their planned outcomes. We may adjust the package for the next period to ensure that it remains beneficial for all. 

Read an accessible version of Sutton Short Breaks Bitesize Briefing CYPDS or download a copy of Sutton's short breaks bite-size briefing or the short breaks service statement.

Children's First Contact Service

The Children’s First Contact Service (CFCS) is a single referral and assessment pathway to access Children’s Social Care in the London borough of Sutton.

As part of this service, the CFCS referral form is now the quickest and easiest way to access support from Children’s Services. This single referral form will be the new format for the following:

  • Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) - Referral Form
  • Early Help Request
  • Parenting Plus Referral
  • Children with Disabilities - Access point referral