New short breaks service for children

Action for Children will continue to deliver targeted short breaks under the new contract starting from 1 October 2019.

Details can be found in ‘Children’s Short Breaks Strategy for 2018 to 2022’  which Bucks County Council developed with FACT Bucks.

The strategy aims to:

  • support disabled children and young people to develop independence, learn new skills, make new friends and reduce loneliness
  • support carers with their caring responsibilities.
  • provide the right mix of universal, targeted and specialist support.
  • ensure access to short breaks is fair. Priority will be for those who need it most.

The strategy also outlines three categories of short breaks, which are listed below:

  • Universal short breaks: These are services that can be used by everyone without an assessment. For example youth clubs, after school activities, Cubs, Brownies, leisure centres and childminders. Wherever possible, these should be accessible to disabled children and young people. They offer valuable experiences for children and young people as they grow up. Information about universal services is available on our “Local Offer” website. (
  • Targeted short breaks: These are activities specifically for disabled children. These services may be provided in the evenings, weekends and school holidays. The biggest programmes in Buckinghamshire are the SMILE service (for 0-5 year olds) and the Bucks Activity Project (for 5-18 year olds)
  • Specialist short breaks: These are daytime or overnight respite services, or services paid for by direct payment. They are designed to meet the needs of an individual child and their carers after a social care assessment (called a Child and Families Assessment).