CWD short breaks for SEND children


The purpose of this page is to set out the range of short breaks services available for families with disabled children and young people in Lambeth aged 0-19, and the eligibility criteria for accessing these services.

Short Breaks Responsibility

Paragraph 6 (1) (c) of Schedule 2 of the Children Act 1989 requires Local Authorities to provide services designated to give breaks for carers of children with disabilities.  This is underpinned by the Break for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011 which states a requirement to  provide short breaks to those who care for disabled children, when it would improve their ability to care for their disabled child, or when they could not continue to provide care without a “short break” and to “publish” information to parents about the service available in their area, and criteria to attend such services.

The following Acts have been put in place to protect and support children, young people and their families:

  • The Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000
  • The Children Act 2004
  • The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004
  • The Children & Young Person’s Act 2008
  • The Equality Act 2010
  • The Short Break Regulations 2011
  • Children’s & Families Act 2014
  • Care Act 2014
  • SEND Code of Practise 2014

Why does Lambeth have to publish its short breaks statement?

On 1st April 2011, the Carers of Disabled Children Regulations came into force, which required Local Authorities to provide short breaks for families with SEND children.  The regulations also required the Council to publish a Short Breaks Statement so that families:

  • know clearly the eligibility criteria to access these services
  • know what services are available across the Borough
  • know how the services are designed to meet the needs of disabled children and young people locally

Short Breaks Eligibility

SEND children and young people are eligible for short breaks in Lambeth if they:

  • live in Lambeth
  • are between the ages of 0-19
  • have a physical or mental impairment which is likely to have a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities
  • this could include children with a sensory impairment, a learning disability, or an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) with challenging behaviour as a result of their learning disability.
  • it also includes children with complex health needs and those with palliative, life limiting or life-threatening conditions

Short Breaks

Short breaks provide opportunities for families with SEND children a break from their caring and SEND young people time away from their families in services that are supportive to their needs.

Short breaks can be part of a regular and supported package of care for SEND children and their families

There are a range of different short breaks available in Lambeth. Not all SEND children and their families will need the same level of support; some will need more than others because of the nature of their child’s disability and their individual family circumstances.

For other families, whose child’s needs are severe and profound, occasional short breaks will not meet their needs.  For example, their child’s daily personal care would need specialist intervention from the Children with Disabilities Team (CWD), which involves Specialist services.

Specialist Short Breaks

Specialist services are aimed at the most severe and complex disabled children and young People. If you feel that this applies to you, then you need to request an assessment from the Children with Disabilities Service by contacting the Integrated Referral Hub (IRH) on 020 7926 3344.

If you are a professional, please call 0207 926 5555 and follow up your referral in writing by completing the Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) and sending it to

If you are a parent or carer of a child who receives a support package from the Lambeth Children with Disabilities team, for specific advice, we would recommend that you contact your provider, your social worker or the Children with Disabilities Duty Social Worker on 0207 926 6916.

Specialist support which may be available to your SEND child and to your family subject to the outcome of a Child & Family Assessment can include:

  • A range of short breaks including after school clubs, Saturday clubs and holiday activities for children aged 5 plus
  • Direct payments enables families to arrange and pay for short break support, using a personal assistant in the home / in the community. 
  • Domiciliary care and community outreach workers.  These are agency workers who can support the child in the home in the community.
  • A combination of the above

Our short breaks providers and what they offer

Universal activities

Many families with SEND children will not require specialist short breaks support because they will be able to access universal services locally, which may include sport and leisure centres, outdoor adventure playgrounds or youth clubs.

Information about universal services that may be suitable for disabled children can be found in the Lambeth Family Information Directory.

Lambeth Family Information Directory

CWD virtual drop-in session

Takes place on the first Tuesday of every month, from 11:30am to 12:30pm.

To register your interest and get details on how to connect, please email