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Respite help for you and your child

Respite care for you and your child

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Parents and carers of children with special needs often feel like they should be able to cope on their own. However, every parent needs some time off now and again and parents of special needs children are no different. Respite help for you and your child is a way of giving everybody a well deserved break so don’t feel bad about asking for it.

Where to go

Support services are available under the 1989 Children Act. The first step is to contact Social Services to see what help is offered in your area and find out whether or not you are entitled to it. Your local council’s website should provide contact details for you to get in touch yourself or you can go through your doctor or Child Development Centre if you prefer. Before you call, make a note of the issues your family is facing and think about the kind of help you’re looking for. For example, do you need someone to spend time with your child or does your home need upgrading to be made more accessible?

What next

Following your initial contact a Duty Social Worker will get in touch to discuss things with you. You may have to fill out a couple of forms and a home visit may be made to meet you and your child and to establish your eligibility for different kinds of help. Be prepared to answer lots of questions about your child’s special needs, your family circumstances and how your child is currently cared for. These are just to determine how help could be best given; nobody is judging you or trying to catch you out.

What kind of help might we get?

Presuming your family meets the council’s criteria, there are a number of ways in which help might be offered. These include:

  • Short break/respite: Your child will be offered overnight stays at suitable facilities or a care worker will come to stay at your home.
  • Domiciliary service: Someone will come to your home regularly to help with things like bathing and dressing.
  • Family link/link care: This involves your child spending time with a registered family.

Direct payments

respite care for you and your childRather than the council organising help, you receive payments to employ carers of your choice. Direct payments can be used for things like respite, nursery places and personal care.

If you don’t meet the criteria for assistance from Social Services, the social worker should be able to provide information on local voluntary groups that may be able to help.

Disabled Facilities Grant

If your child needs specialist equipment or your home needs improvements to provide greater accessibility you may be qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant. Social Services will provide an Occupation Therapist to come to your home and make an assessment based on your child’s needs and the accessibility of your property.

Child in Need Plan

Your allocated social worker will come up with what is called a ‘Child in Need’ plan.  This will outline the arrangements that have been agreed regarding the needs of your child. The plan will be reviewed as your child grows up and different types of help will be offered if and when they are needed.



About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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