Councillors to discuss specialist short break service

Ref: PR 8286
Date: 19/07/2016

Senior Wakefield councillors are to discuss the way children's specialist short break services are determined when they meet on July 26.

Members of the Cabinet are to consider a recommendation to revise the eligibility criteria for short breaks for children and young people with special educational needs or a disability.

Under the law, local authorities have a responsibility to provide short breaks for children and young people and their carers, depending on the level of their needs as determined by eligibility criteria.

A report to councillors says the way services are currently allocated in Wakefield needs to be updated to reflect the national reforms for children and young people with special education needs and to ensure a consistent approach.  All children with a disability, and their parents or carers, are entitled to a needs assessment.

Cllr Olivia Rowley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young people at Wakefield Council, said: "It is important that families receive the right level and type of support they need. We are going to discuss revising our eligibility criteria because we want to make sure the decisions we make are consistent, fair and transparent."

A consultation has been held with children, young people, parents, carers and stakeholders on the proposed changes. It highlighted the amount of support families could get might increase, decrease, change significantly or cease depending on their eligibility against the new criteria.

If councillors agree the recommendation existing service users would continue to receive the equivalent time allocation until the end of March, although the service delivery may change.