Young people’s respite care to be overhauled

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 March 2015


YOUNG people accessing respite care in North Somerset could be given the chance to learn new skills and become more independent when a new service is introduced next year.

North Somerset Council is looking to redesign its short breaks provision for children and young people with additional needs following the introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014 in September, which has major implications for how services are organised and delivered for people aged up to 25.

The council plans to develop traditional respite care into specific activities which will promote independence and also create an advice and support service for the young people and their carers.

The decision to seek a provider for this has been made after a year of work carried out with parents of disabled children and young people to understand what they need and what can be done better.

The current service is mostly based on giving parents and carers a break from their role, either by accommodating children away from home or providing a sitting-type service.

However, families felt this time away from home would be better used to begin preparing a young person to be independent in the future. Young people also told the council they wanted the opportunity to meet up with friends during this time, perhaps with the support of a buddy or assistant.

A council spokesman said: “The aim of the procurement decision is to ensure there is a range of different options available, focused on parents receiving the break they need and children work to be as independent as they possibly can in the future.”

It is also hoped the redeveloped service will improve a person’s transition into adult services, which can sometimes be quite disruptive. This will include supporting them in accessing further education and work as well as support to help them live independently.

The council hopes the procurement and implementation of the new service from April 2016 will save it more than £500,000 over the contract period.

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