Legal Guide on Short Breaks for Disabled Children
The guide has been developed by barrister Steve Broach on behalf of the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) to help local authority officers to understand the law in relation to short breaks and to apply it effectively.
This should assist in supporting and protecting the provision of vital services for families. It is important in CDC’s view that the level of awareness and understanding of the law relating to short breaks is the same in every local authority.
The guide also covers the duties on NHS bodies in relation to short breaks and so will be relevant to the health partners of local authorities, particularly Clinical Commissioning Groups. We hope the guide will also be helpful to families and providers who want to understand the legal duties on local authorities and their health partners.
This guide builds on two guidance documents on short breaks produced by central government:
- Short Breaks: Statutory Guidance on how to safeguard and promote the welfare of disabled children using short breaks, published in April 2010 (‘the statutory guidance’). This guidance focuses in particular on the decision as to whether overnight short breaks should be provided under section 17 or section 20 of the Children Act 1989 and the consequences in relation to ‘looked after’ status if section 20 provision is made.
- Short breaks for carers of disabled children: Departmental advice for local authorities, published in March 2011 (‘the departmental advice’). This non-statutory guidance was produced alongside the introduction of the short breaks duty and the 2011 Regulations.