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Coronavirus update for short breaks, play and leisure and domiciliary care

Update for families on short breaks for disabled children.

During this difficult time it is important for the county council to ensure that support is provided to the most vulnerable children and families who have the most extensive needs. For this reason, we have made some difficult decisions about the following areas:

Play and leisure short breaks including summer play schemes

We are pausing all play and leisure short breaks and we will stop undertaking play and leisure short breaks assessments, including summer play schemes, for the time being. This is because we would not be able to identify any provision whilst this situation continues, and we need to be able to redeploy our staff to maintain critical services.

We will assess individuals according to need and risk to ascertain which children require contact during this period.

Direct payments

We expect that, where parents are employing a PA to undertake play and leisure activities, there will be some considerable disruption to this as employees need to self-isolate or become unwell.

In addition, the most recent government announcement requiring households to remain at home means that the opportunity for taking children out and about is no longer an option.

Families may continue to use their direct payments for as long as is feasible, and can try to identify replacement support themselves, but unfortunately where the emphasis was for that support to provide play and leisure activities we are unable to offer you any alternatives.

Where families with extensive needs have relied on direct payments as part of a package of support, you should contact your social worker if any disruption to your package is causing significant difficulties.

Domiciliary care

We continue to work with providers of home care to ensure essential services are provided, but anticipate there may be some disruption in the coming weeks.

Where families have agreed alongside their school and social worker not to access a school place, discussions should be held with your social worker or SEND Family Support Worker if you feel additional support is needed.
This will be assessed (generally by telephone) and prioritised according to need, but families will also appreciate that home care providers are also experiencing difficulties with the availability of staff and therefore some requests may not be fulfilled.

Overnight short breaks

We understand that Praxis are continuing to provide overnight respite, however, you may experience a reduction in provision.

We will update families as and when we receive new information from Praxis.

In the meantime, we will not be assessing any families for overnight respite who are not already in receipt of this service.

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