Arrange a short break for a child

A short break allows your child to take part in fun activities away from their normal routine and can give parents a break from caring responsibilities.

The break may last a few hours or a few days and can happen at home, in an approved foster carer’s home, or a residential setting.

Children and young people who have a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long term effect on their ability to carry out day to day activities, can benefit from a short break.

Benefits of short breaks

Short breaks are a positive experience for children and families. They give children an opportunity to make friends, join activities and take a break from their family. They can also support parents in their caring role so that the whole family can enjoy activities together.

Types of short break

Universal short breaks are for all children, including disabled children and young people, up to the age of 19. These include: youth service, youth theatre, school and community holiday clubs, leisure centres and family activity days.

Targeted short breaks are for families with disabled children and can be accessed directly by parents without an assessment from Social Care. These include after school and weekend activities in term time, holiday play schemes and family fun sessions.

Specialist short breaks are for families with disabled children who have the most complex needs. Referrals for specialist breaks go to the Children’s Complex Needs Resource Panel and families will need to be deemed eligible following an assessment and support from a disability social worker. These include family-based short breaks, overnight stays in residential provision and health and care packages in the home.

Consultation Feedback

We recently completed an engagement and consultation exercise with parents, carers and also with children and young people around short breaks in Knowsley to find out what is most important to them. 

We received lots of feedback and this will help to directly inform how we commission and deliver short break services for children and young people in the future.

Please see below for the full consultation feedback

Short Breaks Grants


As part of Knowsley’s Short Breaks programme, small grants are available to enable the development of peer support and bespoke activities for children with disabilities and their families.

Information on dates of future rounds of small grants will be made available here.

Call 0151 443 5601 if you’d like to know more about arranging a short break for your child.

The short breaks statement gives full details of the schemes.