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Short breaks

Short Breaks are for children and young people with disabilities to spend time away from home to give parents a break from caring. The breaks can be for a few hours, a day, evening, overnight, for a weekend or longer. There are different kinds of Short Breaks available depending on the needs your child has.


About Short Breaks

Short Breaks provide children and young people the opportunity to:

  • have fun
  • make friends
  • try new activities
  • build independence
  • develop new skills

It also gives families an opportunity to:

  • have a break from their caring responsibilities
  • rest and relax
  • spend time with other members of their family

Short Breaks may include arrangements for your child to access:

  • universal services
  • Short Breaks

Who is eligible for Short Breaks?

You may be eligible if your child:

  • has a diagnosed disability or impairment that would define them as a disabled person under the Equality Act 2010 including a physical or sensory impairment, learning disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, challenging behaviour as a result of a disability, complex health needs and those with palliative, life-limiting or life threatening conditions
  • is a resident in Havering
  • is aged 0-18 years

Read the Council’s Short Breaks Statement for full eligibility criteria.

Your child may also be eligible for Continuing Healthcare Funding from the NHS if they have complex medical needs. Read about Continuing Healthcare Funding.

How to apply

Apply for a Short Break.

You should expect to hear back about your application within four weeks.

Read our application flowchart.

Find Short Breaks Services

Short Breaks panel

Packages of support for an enhanced offer are presented to a Short Breaks panel to agree the level of support that will be provided.

Parents and carers will receive a copy of the Short Breaks assessment being presented by the social worker before it goes to panel.

The panel comprises of  professionals from the different services that provide support to disabled children. They look at the best ways of providing and allocating resources available in relation to short breaks provision for children and young people with the highest levels of need.

The panel takes into account the opinions of the family and specialists who work with the child or young person and brings everyone’s ideas together to work out how best to provide the right short breaks package for the child or young person and their family. In addition to this, the panel ensures children/young people of similar needs and circumstances are provided with similar level of support. 

Appeal a decision

If your application is not agreed by the local authority you will receive a letter detailing the reasons why. 

If you do not agree with the decision you should initially discuss any concerns with the person who completed the short break assessment or the duty senior social worker. To do this, you can call 01708 432488 between the hours of 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday.

If the issue is not resolved at this stage, you can appeal within 14 days of receiving the letter.

Get involved and tell us what you think

We want to ensure our work meets the needs of our children and young people in Havering.

We welcome your feedback so let us know what you think about our Short Breaks services by emailing your suggestions to

Or you can contact the parent forum for Havering and Young Advisors Havering, or Advocacy for All to tell us your views.

If you’re not happy with your Short Breaks service you can make a complaint. Discuss your issue first with the duty senior social worker by email at  or by telephone on 01708 432488 to see if we can resolve this.

If the issues are not resolved via this conversation, you can make a complaint.

Accessing universal services

Some families with a disabled child or young person can access universal services that are available and can be accessed by everyone. These may be:

Where possible our expectation is for families to access universal services to help disabled children be a part of their local community.


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