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Read our training guide for fostering services on how you can help me see my friends

How to make your short breaks services inclusive of children’s friendships

Our free ‘How to’ guide offers a pragmatic, step by step approach to assist short breaks services working with disabled children and young people and wish to respond to their requests to have their short break with a friend.

The guide includes a range of approaches, practical tools and forms that can be photocopied and customised to any short breaks service working with disabled children.

All of the ideas in the guide have been piloted and evaluated by our partners with City of York Council, North Yorkshire and Nottingham’s Short Breaks and Inclusion Team.

The outcomes of children’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans are increasingly focussed on the importance of activities that support friendship. Short breaks services will inevitably need to be responsive to children’s EHC plan outcomes and expectations, by being in a state of readiness to provide a flexible range of options which include the choice of friendship for those who want it.

Local authorities have a vital role to play when setting out their expectations of the short breaks services they fund. By following the lead of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, they could make a significant contribution to increasing opportunities for disabled children to have friends.

Short breaks service providers will be expected to make provision for children and young people to take up their short break activities with a chosen friend who may or may not be eligible for short break provision in their own right. Follow the link on this page and read Solihull’s short break service specification in full …

The Family Fund (www.familyfund.org.uk) value friendship for disabled children and young people and consider this outcome when looking at applications. Family fund have provided grants for travel, holidays and days out with friends and birthday parties for disabled children and their friends. Family fund frequently provide disabled children with technology to help them communicate as well as technology, such as tablet computers, which young people can use to access social media.