Short breaks

Short breaks provide disabled children and young people with an opportunity to spend time away from their parents, relax with friends and have fun. They also provide families with a break from their caring responsibilities.

Not all children and families will need the same level of short breaks, and some will need more than others because of the impact of their child’s disability or their individual family circumstances. For more information, see our short breaks statement (PDF).

Children and young people are eligible for short breaks if they meet the eligibility criteria for the Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC).

Children and families are referred into the service using the JSDC referral form. This is completed with you by a professional who knows your child and family, such as a health visitor or teacher. This helps identify your child's additional needs and determines if your child is eligible. We aim to let you know the outcome within four weeks.

All short break grants will be reviewed once a year to ensure the level of support is right for your child and family. You can request a review and further assessment of your needs at any time by emailing the team.

Families can access information, advice and support from:

  • Every Parent and Child - a charity that provides the Enfield SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS), and Independent Support Service to children, young people and their families
  • Enfield branch – National Autistic Society - set up by parents in 2005 to support local people living with Autism and Asperger’s, and their families and carers
  • Our Voice Parent Forum - a parent-led organisation working with parents, carers and voluntary groups, to improve services for children and young people with disabilities or special educational needs
  • Enfield Carers Centre - a local charity offering support and advice for unpaid carers
  • Dazu (sibling support) - a charity providing recreational and educational activities for children and young people of all ages and abilities

Children's centres

Children’s centres offer activities and services for families with children under five.

Specialist support provided by the Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC)

If eligible, specialist support includes:

  • Early support keyworkers - help to improve the delivery of services by co-ordinating support from a range of services such as health visitors, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and children's centres
  • Pre-school support service - work with parents and carers in the home to provide teaching activities to support your child's development
  • Specialist short breaks offer:
    • access to family fun days during Easter and summer school holidays
    • fathers' groups
    • stay and play sessions
    • family activities
    • sleep workshops
    • parent workshops such as Makaton

Specialist support provided by the Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC)

If eligible, specialist support includes:

  • Specialist short breaks offer - a £500 ActivityPlus grant towards the cost of your child's activities and services
  • Family support offers:
    • access to family fun days during Easter and summer school holidays
    • fathers' groups
    • family activities
    • sleep workshops
    • parent workshops such as Makaton

Specialist support provided by the Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC)

If eligible, specialist support includes:

  • Family support offers:
  • Choice of one of the following specialist short breaks per year:
    • a £500 ActivityPlus grant towards the cost of your child's activities and services
    • a £1000 specialist services grant towards the cost of services
    • the JSDC buying services for your child up to a maximum of £1,000

Some families need more support and short break services than others due to the impact of their child’s complex disability and family situation. Families who need more support will be assessed further. You can request an assessment or review at any time by emailing the team.

Children and young people who receive short breaks directly from Cheviots will not receive a short breaks grant.

The Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC) provides families with a personal budget through short break grants and direct payments.

Direct payments

If a social work assessment identifies the need for personal care, a parent may choose to employ a personal carer and will therefore receive a direct payment. Alternatively, the JSDC can provide or buy the personal care service.

A parent choosing the direct payment option becomes the employer and will be offered support to manage their employment responsibilities through U-Direct.

If you're eligible to receive a short breaks grant, you will need to apply for an E-card (similar to a debit card) which will be pre-loaded with your grant funding. The account will be in your name but belongs to Enfield Council. You cannot withdraw cash as it can only be used to pay for activities or services. You must keep receipts for all payments made for two years as these may need to be shown.

You will be asked to sign an agreement which details your responsibilities.

Funding must be used to meet the needs of your child, otherwise payments will be suspended.

The following playschemes and afterschool clubs are approved by the Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC) to provide services for Enfield’s children and young people:

If you choose to use an organisation that is not on our list of approved service providers, the JSDC recommends checking:

  • if all staff have a current police check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • how many staff work at the service and if they can meet the needs of the children at the group
  • if staff have first aid training and qualifications
  • what qualifications and experience the manager has and if you can arrange to meet and talk with them
  • if there is a training plan for staff including how to manage behaviour that challenges
  • all staff attend safeguarding (child protection) training
  • there are health and safety procedures for your child, staff and the building
  • there are policies, procedures and risk assessments in place
  • if they have public liability insurance
  • recruitment processes make sure staff have the right attitude, experience and knowledge to care for your child safely
  • if your child needs to attend for the whole holiday period when choosing a holiday playscheme
  • the structure of the holiday playscheme
  • the scheme can hold your child's place open while you take a family holiday
  • if there is an additional cost for attending outings
  • if the cancellation policies and if the fee will still need to be paid
  • if the playscheme is registered with Ofsted if children under 8 years old attend, when the last inspection was and the outcome
  • how many children attend the service and what the age ranges are
  • how the staff will contact you in an emergency
  • the facilities and equipment meet the needs of children with disabilities
  • what hours and days the service operates
  • the current fees
  • if the ages are mixed during activities
  • what activities are available and if the child can choose which ones they do
  • if snacks or meals are provided
  • if you need to bring supplies such as supply pads or snacks
  • if staff are welcoming, approachable and interested in you and your child
  • if staff listen and respond to children and join in with their play
  • if the environment is bright, comfortable, secure and clear with plenty of floor space to move around
  • if there are clean and safe toys and equipment appropriate for different stages of development
  • how much individual attention the children get
  • if there is a quiet area for the children

You can ask the manager if you would like to see evidence of any of these.

The following agencies are approved by the Joint Service for Disabled Children (JSDC) to provide home care or home sitting services specialising in mild to profound learning or physical disabilities:

For information on affordable and free activities in Enfield (including parks), local boroughs and central London, view the Enfield Children and Young Persons’ Services guide (PDF).

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