Short breaks

For children and young people with disabilities and/or additional needs

Who can access specialist services for disabled children?

The information below is for parents and carers of disabled children and outlines the eligibility criteria for specialist services.

My child has a disability. What support is available?

We are working with our partners to provide a wide range of services for disabled children and their families, including short breaks and facilitating access to the same services as all children. This has been made possible through the Short Breaks programme.

Information for parents/carers of disabled children is available from Parent Voice, and there are varied opportunities for participation in the design of services via Hampshire Parent/ Carer Network.

What specialist services are available?

Disabled children with complex needs may need specialist services from Children’s Services, including: social work support; overnight short breaks; the family link scheme and support within and outside the home.

A social worker will make an assessment to decide if your child is eligible for specialist services, using the criteria outlined below.

There are many disabled children in Hampshire and we use eligibility criteria as part of the assessment to prioritise and to ensure families most in need receive help.

Do you think your child is eligible for specialist services?

Please read the criteria below. If you feel your child is eligible, the first step is to request an initial assessment of need. This will involve a telephone call and possible visit from Children’s Services. You can do this by telephoning 0300 555 1384 or email

The criteria

We will use this statement and criteria to decide which children are eligible.

In order to achieve outcomes appropriate to their potential and as a result of their disability, the child requires total or substantial support, appropriate to their age, from another person, which is not available within the family network.

Examples below to be read in conjunction with the above statement.

  • Child uses specialist equipment for mobility
  • Child requires support for all basic self care functions when no longer age appropriate
  • Child needs constant supervision throughout the day and for prolonged periods at night, when no longer age appropriate
  • Child has behaviour as a result of disability that is a serious risk to self and or others, including self harm
  • Child has communication needs which, without support, severely affects personal safety, i.e. is deaf, blind or without speech
  • Child has been assessed as having either: Profound and Multiple Learning Disability (PMLD); Severe Learning Disability (SLD); and/or autism with challenging behaviour, which results in significant risk of self harm or harm to others

Other factors that will influence assessments

  • Carer has physical or mental health problems
  • Actual or potential risk to health or safety of carer
  • Carer suffers sleep deprivation on a regular basis due to needs of the disabled child through the night
  • Child’s behaviour is a serious risk to self or others
  • Child has been / or is the subject of a Child Protection Plan
  • Other Person(s) with disabilities or long-term health needs in the household who needs support
  • Sole carer and has a limited support network
  • Significant pressures in the family e.g. domestic violence
  • Risk to the child because of the physical environment
  • Risk of the disabled child's care breaking down
  • Without support the child is likely to need a specialist residential or educational placement
  • The family has difficulties in meeting financial commitments
  • There are stressful family relationships which may be harmful to disabled child
  • Impact on siblings e.g. needs of other children in the family at risk

Do you need information, advice or support?

Contact Parent Voice

Children’s Services 0845 603 5620 or email

Return to information about eligibility criteria