Journal Article

Family-Based Short Breaks (Respite) for Disabled Children: Results from the Fourth National Survey

Helen Cramer and Jeanne Carlin

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 6, pages 1060-1075
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Family-Based Short Breaks (Respite) for Disabled Children: Results from the Fourth National Survey

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A survey of family-based short breaks for disabled children in the UK was undertaken in order to investigate the state of current services. The research builds on the work of previous surveys and takes the perspective of the service co-ordinators. The findings show that family-based short breaks are rapidly changing and diversifying. The number of schemes with contract carers has gone up and the number of schemes with additional sitting and befriending services has gone down. The reasons for the growth in contract carers are understood better than the reasons for the decline in sitting and befriending. The changing population of disabled children and the increased number of children with complex needs wanting a service are key contributory factors in these trends. The most common profile of children waiting the longest for a service is still teenage boys with autism or ‘challenging behaviour’. Some improvements have been observable in the numbers of families and children from ethnic minorities accessing services. The introduction of Care Standards has received a mixed response. The challenge for short breaks is to be flexible and responsive to the local needs of children and families.

Keywords: family-based short breaks; respite; disabled children; services

Journal Article.  6674 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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