In December 2010, the Children’s Minister announced that the Government will be providing local authorities with £800m over the next four years to fund short breaks for families with disabled children. This represents approx £200m per year, the highest ever investment in short breaks.
From April 2011, funding for short breaks will be included within the new Early Intervention Grant. This grant also funds services such as Sure Start, youth services, and MASTs (Multi-Agency Support Teams). The short breaks money will not be ring-fenced. This means that local authorities can choose to spend it on other things.
Sheffield City Council’s 2011/12 budget allocates £300,000 less to short breaks than in 2010/11. This represents a 15% cut. Investment in overnight respite (i.e. Sheffield’s three respite care homes and foster placements) and daycare services provided by SNIPS will remain at the 2010/11 level.
We have requested a meeting with Cllr Colin Ross, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People’s Services, to find out more.