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More short breaks for children with disabilities

31 January 2019

Young children playing together

‚ÄčThe Children, Young People, Education and Skills Department is seeking service providers to increase the range and capacity of support to children eligible for short breaks.

The findings of a public consultation held in October and November 2018 have shaped the services that the department is seeking to commission for the new model of short breaks available for children with disabilities.

Children and young people with disabilities gave their views on what was important for short break services through four focus groups during the consultation period.

There was an excellent response to the consultation with over fifty families and thirty five people working with children with disabilities responding through surveys, written comments and engagement at drop in sessions.

By offering a range of short break services, the department will increase the opportunities for disabled children to have fun by spending time with their friends and having the chance to make new ones. Having a wider choice of interesting activities will help develop their social skills, increase their confidence and independence.

The provision of new services will also provide respite for parents or carers to be able to have time to themselves or to spend time with their other children, whilst being confident that their child is safe and having fun.

Providers are therefore being sought to run targeted play and youth group schemes at the weekends and during school holidays.

A provider is being sought to support universal providers to champion the inclusion of children with disabilities through training and working alongside them to build their skills, confidence and capacity.

For those children who need a higher level of support, providers are also being sought to increase the amount of specialist individual support to access community activities.

The invitation to tender for service providers is being issued this week. Organisations who may be interested in bidding to provide services are invited to attend a workshop on either Wednesday, 6 February, 9.30am to 10.30am, or Friday, 8 February, 12.30pm to 1.30pm at the Child Development and Therapy Centre at Overdale.

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