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Scheduled systems maintenance affecting online forms: Online forms will be unavailable this weekend from 6am Saturday 3 to 6am Monday 5 October.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

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:

Summer Playschemes

For children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or a disability

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, many of the summer scheme providers are unable to provide the same level of service this year, and therefore the numbers of children who can attend a summer play scheme will be much lower.

We want to make sure that there is still support available for you in the summer holidays, and so this year we are offering all families who have an agreed summer play scheme in place, a direct payment card in place of the usual commissioned service.

This money will be for you to spend before September 2020 on activities or resources or to use with those providers who can offer 1-1 places or an online service. This means that we will not be arranging a play scheme for your child, instead you will be in control of deciding what best meets the needs of your child.

For those families who already have a summer playscheme agreed, you will be receiving a letter and form providing you with all of the details, including how to contact providers who are offering 1-1 support and other activities. You should have received this letter by 25th June. We will need you to complete and return the form to us as soon as possible in the enclosed pre-paid envelope.

If you do not receive a letter or are uncertain whether this applies to you, please contact your Social Worker or SEND Family Support Worker.

If you are unable to reach your worker, please call 0116 3058727.   You will need to provide your child’s name and date of birth so that we can check our records and get back to you. Similarly, if you have recently requested a short break or summer playscheme, but have not yet heard back from us, please speak to your SEND Family Support Worker or call 0116 3058727. 

We continue to accept and assess new requests for support – this includes requests for short breaks and for broader family support.  If you would like to self- refer we have a request for service form.

Alternatively, you can ask any professional involved with your family to make a referral on your behalf.  

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, there are still some restrictions in place in terms of socialising and contact with people outside of your household, which may mean reduced opportunities for PAs taking children out and about.

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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