PARENTS and carers of disabled children in Stockton-on-Tees will soon have more choice over the short breaks their youngsters can access.
Changes to the short break system across Stockton Borough means that from 1 April 2016, parents and carers of disabled children and young people aged 3 to 17 years will be able to apply to Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council for a grant of up to £1200 to allow their child to take part in short break activities.
For children who already receive services as a result of an assessment of need, such as direct payments or overnight stays at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s residential centre, Hartburn Lodge, a grant of up to £300 is available.
Families who have been receiving a short breaks grant since October 2015, will receive a letter asking if they are happy for their child to continue accessing the same activities. They will not need to apply again unless they want to change the activities their child accesses or the amount of grant they would like to receive.
Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “In the past we commissioned three providers to provide short breaks for children across the Borough. We want to give parents and carers more control over the short breaks they can choose. This is why we are allowing people to apply for larger short break grants to enable them to choose an activity which appeals to, and suits the needs of their child.”
The Council is also offering a special discount card to parents and carers whose applications are successful. The Max Card is a scheme for children and young people with a disability and allows access to hundreds of attractions across the UK at a free or discounted rate.
Parents and carers wishing to apply for a short breaks grant for the first time can find information and an application form on the Local Offer website www.stockton.gov.uk/localoffer or can request a form from the Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Short Breaks Support Officer, on 01642 526745.