Short breaks statement

Supporting Disabled Children

Newport City Council has specific duties to disabled children and their families including ensuring services are available to disabled children, promoting equality and encouraging them to take part in public life.

It is our duty to provide a range of services to families with disabled children in order to minimise the impact of any disability and to enable the child and their family to live as ordinary a life as possible.

We define a 'carer' for a disabled child as interpreted in The Children Act 1989, a person who provides care for a disabled child and who is:

(a) the child’s parent, or

(b) a person who is not the child’s parent but who has parental responsibility for that child

In performing our duty to provide services to disabled children and their families we must have regard to the needs of those carers who:

(a) would be unable to continue to provide care for the disabled child unless breaks from caring were given to them; and

(b) who would be able to provide care for the disabled child more effectively if breaks from caring were given to them to allow them to:

(i) undertake education, training or any regular leisure activity,

(ii) meet the needs of other children in the family more effectively, or

(iii) carry out day to day tasks which they must perform in order to run their household.

We provide reliable and regular short term breaks in foster families or residential units. We also provide support services in the home and assistance for disabled children to participate in out of school and leisure activities in the community, alongside their non-disabled peers.

We work in close partnership with health colleagues to provide specialist provision to children with physical and/or complex health needs. The disabled children’s team also provides short break services tailor made to meet individual needs in conjunction with voluntary organisations, educational professionals and other specialist services where needed.

All short break services are reviewed within the statutory timescales and aim to incorporate the views and wishes of disabled children and their families.

Newport City Council is in the process of drafting new questionnaires to gain feedback from children and young people as well as their parents and carers about the short breaks provided and how to improve them.

The disabled children's team will meet with parents and or carers individually when requested to address any concerns or worries.

We take any complaints about our services seriously and with sensitivity.

We welcome direct feedback from our local special school via parent coffee mornings once a month for parents and carers of disabled children and are active in ensuring members of team attend to listen to feedback about the services we provide.

We receive feedback from parent / carer support groups and forums and our information officer is available to offer advice and information. 

Our information officer will send out mail drops to the parents and carers on the disability index (approximately 471 families) to consult with them. We also have consultation via Newport Autism Support Group (monthly meeting) and Parents for Change (monthly).

Listed below is a range of short breaks that can be provided to a disabled child or young person where assessed as needed

Family Based Short Breaks

This is where a child is introduced to a specialist approved carer, after their needs have been identified via an assessment. Regular planned short breaks are offered via two retained carers who have vast experience and understanding of working with disabled children. The carers also have the necessary training, specialist equipment and input of the local authority to support disabled children and their families.

There are also some foster carers who provide short breaks to some disabled young people within Newport.

The aim of the service is around providing each child with access to new experiences, helping them build friendships, increase their independence and to allow the families a well earned break while knowing their child is with someone they can trust in a familiar home environment.

Usually, care is provided within the carers’ home with an introductory plan of visits to meet the pace of the child or young person.

Short breaks can vary from anything within a couple of hours per week to an overnight or weekend stay on an on going basis.

Oakland House

Oakland’s is a short break house which provides planned overnight short breaks for children and young people with severe disability. The age range is up to 17 years and a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment is provided.

Oakland’s also provide a day service for children and young people with severe disability. The length of stay will vary but will not exceed 1 week.

Direct Payments Service

Newport City Council via the Disabled Children’s Team provides a direct payments service for those disabled children and their families who have been assessed as eligible for services from Social Services.

Direct Payments can be a flexible way of care being provided to a child and their family providing certain criteria are met.

A range of care can be provided via this service to ensure the needs of a young person and their family are met from a few hours of support per week to more substantial support.

Advice, guidance and practical input are provided for those who wish to have their needs met via a direct payments service.


REACH is part of the Seren Group and provides a service to disabled young people and their families which are purchased by Children’ Services. It is a quality service providing a flexible range of practical and supportive services to disabled young people.

REACH aims to:

• help individuals to access community facilities

• help with training programmes such as how to catch a bus

• help individuals to socialise and develop relationships away from their homes

• enable individuals to develop their independent living skills and self-esteem to be able to live independently in the community by assisting with housekeeping, life skills and finances

• encourage self-advocacy;

• encourage individuals to manage their personal care.

• a specialist service within the homes can be provided where needed

Specialist services

The disabled children’s team looks at children individually and if needed will consider specialist services which could be provided. 

Disability Sport Wales

The disabled children’s team part-funds a disability sports development officer and there several sports clubs and activities for disabled children including trampolining, swimming, football and tennis.

Play clubs and play schemes 

There are three play club sessions running each Saturday at Serennu Children’s Centre for disabled children aged 5 – 11 years.

A specialist play scheme with intensive support for severely disabled children runs during the summer holidays. 

For children requiring nursing a specialist service is provided by the council's disabled children’s team and Aneurin Bevan Health Board’s community nursing team. 

Read more about play clubs and play schemes

Youth club 

There are three specialist youth clubs at Serennu Children’s Centre for disabled young people aged 11 – 17 years.

Monday’s sessions run on a fortnightly basis and Thursday runs each week.

After school clubs

Specialist after school clubs run twice a week at Serennu Children’s Centre for disabled young people ages 5 – 13 and 14 – 17.

Independent Living Skills

The Independent Living Skills club is for 16-18 year old and runs once a week with the aim of developing independence skills as part of the transition process to adulthood.

Other activities

Serennu Children’s Centre offers other activities including dance class, skills sessions, specialist swimming sessions and lessons, family swim sessions, siblings club and stay and play club. All of the sessions are held once a week.

Disability leisure card 

A disability leisure card is available for all disabled children who are registered on Newport’s disability index.

This means that a disabled child and one carer can access certain activities for free across Newport’s leisure facilities.


In order to access Family Based Short Breaks, REACH, Oakland’s House short breaks and other service input where identified, children and young people need to meet one of the criteria from section A and one of the criteria from section B below. The needs of a child or young person and their family will be identified via an initial assessment from a social worker within the Disabled Children’s Team:

Section A

1. Children and young people aged under 18 years who have a severe physical, learning or sensory impairment, including an autistic spectrum disorder, which is both chronic and substantial.

A severe disability is one where:

• the child currently needs substantial support from equipment or another person to carry out basic functions e.g. personal care, eating, night time care, walking and

• as an adult it is expected that they will continue to need support from equipment or another person to carry out basic functions.

2. Children and young people under 18 years of age who have a terminal or life threatening illness.

Section B

1. Immediate risk or danger.

2. Risk situation where your child is likely to suffer significant harm.

3. Your child’s health and development is likely to be impaired or further impaired without the provision of services.

Children who meet criteria in Section A but do not meet criteria in Section B may be eligible for information, advice and guidance.

In addition the Occupational Therapy Team will assess the children either as a new referral, or those known to other children’s teams, where there is a need for equipment and specialist advice; e.g., safety at home.

Provision available to meet the needs of disabled children in Newport

• A mix of innovative, regular, reliable and specialist short breaks services in Newport where assessed as needed.

• Outreach workers are provided to enable families a break and to enable young people to develop their independence.

• Newport’s Disabled Children Team works with its local hospice to enable short break care to be provide to those children with exceptionally complex health needs or who may have short term life expectancy.

• Emergency care can be provided where identified as needed or whereby safeguarding concerns arise.

• Newport City Council works with the special educational needs team and Aneurin Bevan Health Board to meet the needs of disabled children and their families where intensive support is needed which cannot be met by core services.

•Information is obtainable via Newport City Council’s website, leaflets, Wicked News (newsletter), via e-mail, notice boards at Serennu Children’s Centre and through the use of posters at GP surgeries.

• Information can be made available in other formats where requested and paper copies of our short breaks statement can be shared where computer access is not possible.

• A range of services are offered where assessed as needed which are age appropriate and respectful of any cultural or religious needs. Such needs are met with flexibility and creativity.

• A wide range of sporting activities specifically for disabled children are available and are based at leisure facilities throughout Newport as well as encouragement to access universal services where possible.

• Inclusive play clubs and play schemes are located in a number of venues throughout Newport.

• An existing specialist summer play scheme for disabled children is available.

• A buddying and mentoring service can be accessed for parents and young people within the voluntary sector where needed.

• Fun days are provided across Newport in partnership with other agencies.

• Our local special school and other schools can provide activities and clubs for disabled children.

• Transport under certain circumstances can be considered to enable the child or young person to receive a short break.

• Experienced and knowledgeable staff, support those young disabled people who need it with their transition to adult services, working in partnership to provide the best quality services possible.

• Assessment and input can be accessed for siblings of disabled children where needed. The young carer’s service is available to support siblings where requested and needed.

• Assessments of a carer’s needs are offered and completed where requested.

Review of Statement

This short break statement will be reviewed annually and at the latest by 1 September 2015.