Short breaks to be funded through early intervention grant

Short-break funding is to form part of the early intervention grant announced in the comprehensive spending review.

Children and families minister Sarah Teather confirmed at the weekend that £800m would be set aside to help local authorities fund short breaks for disabled children. The money will be delivered in installments of £198m, £202m, £206m and £210m over the next four years.

Teather also announced that, in 2011-12, £40m would be available to councils that needed help to set up innovative services for disabled children and their families.

From April 2011, all councils will have a duty to offer a range of short breaks for families.

“This announcement, combined with the introduction of the short-breaks duty, sends a powerful signal to local authorities about the importance of continuing and developing the level and quality of provision,” said Christine Lenehan, director of the Council for Disabled Children.

However, councils have already expressed concern about how many services will be expected to be funded from the £2bn early intervention grant over the next four years.

Meanwhile, the government also announced that publication of the special educational needs (SEN) Green Paper has been delayed until February 2011.

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